Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat
Line: Lakers -9.5
Pick: Heat +9.5
This series is struggling for the usual NBA Finals juice.
From the court to the venue to the lack of fans, it just doesn’t quite feel right. Further that with with sea of Heat injuries and it just doesn’t quite feel like an NBA Finals.
Still though, both teams more than earned there way here through the bubble so no matter how weird or off this feels, the winner will have earned it.
That winner is looking more and more everyday like it’s going to be the Los Angeles Lakers. Anthony Davis had a run from the second quarter into the third quarter that looked almost Shaq like which any time that happens the opponent is obviously in trouble.
Without Bam Adebayo, Miami has absolutely no answers for the Lakers size and that starts with Anthony Davis. It’s made even worse when LeBron James drives to the rim and instead of being met by an All-Defensive team member, is met by Kelly Olynyk.
What’s weird is despite all of the comically bad mismatches on the defensive side of the court in game two, the Heat still managed to stay right around 10 points down the entire game. Jimmy Butler consistently found a way to penetrate and when he kicked it out, his teammates were finding ways to make or create shots even without Goran Dragic.
Butler’s offence should be a massive positive for the Heat as outside of LeBron guarding him all game, the Lakers don’t really have an answer.
If the Heat are going to somehow win a game in this series, it feels like it’s going to take them outscoring the Lakers. Some version of maybe Duncan Robinson hitting six threes or Tyler Herro dropping 30, some extra burst of offence because defensively it just looks damn near impossible for them to stop the Lakers dynamic duo.
Worse though for Miami is the continued dominant play of Rajon Rondo off the bench. Rondo has firmly supplanted anyother Laker as the third best member of this team.
His playmaking to relieve LeBron is incredibly important and his chemistry with Davis has so far throughout the playoffs proven to be unstoppable.
There just doesn’t seem to be a way the Heat can pull out a victory in this series without both Bam and Dragic.
But, we aren’t doing moneyline picks in this column, we go against the spread.
What I expect tonight is Miami to come out and give the Lakers everything they have and gain an early lead. The Lakers won’t play with the same tenacity they have all series and Miami will catch them a little sleep.
As the game progresses though, the Heat’s chances will dwindle. Davis and LeBron will take over, either Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green or Kyle Kuzma will hit a couple shots and the Lakers will go on to win a closer game.
Remember, despite how it never felt the Lakers were threatened in game two, they won by just 10 points. Assuming Miami gives everything they have and maybe Bam returns as well, laying 9.5 points just feels like way too many.
I have too much respect for Erik Spoelstra, Butler, Iguodala and the rest of this team to think they’ll give in now.
The prediction for tonight is a close Lakers win, one step closer to title seventeen (but the Heat cover).