Robin was never meant to upstage Batman.
But that’s the intriguing dynamic that has emerged after the Lakers put the Heat to the sword and gained a 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals on Saturday with Anthony Davis putting up some insane numbers.
Davis and LeBron James powered Los Angeles to a 124-114 victory inside the Florida bubble — leaving the Lakers two games away from a championship.
The injury depleted Heat hung on as best they could, but 33 points from James and 32 from Davis were just too much.
Davis, playing in his first NBA Finals, overpowered a Heat defence sorely missing injured Bam Adebayo. He added 14 rebounds as James took a 2-0 Finals lead for the first time in his career.
It backed up his Game 1 performance where he put up 34 points — his haul of 66 points in his first two ever appearances in the NBA Finals sees him become just the third player in the last 30 years to shave two-straight games of 30+ points in his first Finals series games.
According to ESPN Stats, Davis’ points haul is also the best by a first-time Finals player since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.
THE AD TAKEOVER 😤
He has the most points by a Laker in their first two Finals games since Shaq in 2000. pic.twitter.com/TmeHapDGX8
“He’s a big-time player,” James, playing in his 10th championship series, said of Davis, whose 14 rebounds included eight offensive boards.
“He understands the position we’re in.” Davis made 14 of his first 15 shots from the field, finishing with 15 baskets in 20 attempts.
Batman and Robin.Source:AFP
James’ greatest ever partner Dwyane Wade even declared on Twitter that Davis has now emerged as the most complimentary star to ever play alongside James.
Despite Wade and James combining for two championships in Miami, Wade agreed that Davis is James’ sweetest-fitting sidekick.
The only problem for James is that Davis now threatens to steal the Finals MVP award from him after James was also overlooked for the 2019-20 NBA MVP award, won by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
James finished Game 2 just shy of a triple-double after adding nine rebounds and nine assists to his 33 points.
He also finished the game with a flawless zero turnovers.
Rajon Rondo added 16 points off the bench and Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 11 points apiece for the Lakers.
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 25 points and Kelly Olynyk added 24 off the bench as the Heat had to make do not only without Adebayo but with star guard Goran Dragic, who was sidelined by a left foot injury.
Even without them, James said, Miami remained a dangerous team, adding that the Lakers need to clamp down harder defensively.
LeBron James was a class above.Source:Getty Images
“Myself, coach and AD were not happy with our defensive presence tonight,” James said. “We can do a lot better.
“Myself and AD, we’re not satisfied with just the win. We want to be great. “They have five guys on the floor that’s a threat, as they showed tonight,” James added of Miami. “So we have to continue to stay on our P’s and Q’s and cross our T’s and dot our I’s through the course of a game.”
Stung by the Heat’s quick start in game one, the Lakers came out of the blocks hot.
Miami never got a look in.
“We need a little bit more from everybody, whatever that is,” Olynyk said.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged that the Heat face a tough challenge against the bigger, physical Lakers.
“In those moments of truth when we had opportunities to get the game closer it usually seemed to end up in an offensive rebound or something near the basket,” Spoelstra said.
“But this is the deal. If you want something badly enough you’ll figure out how to overcome it.
“They have great size and Anthony Davis is an elite player. We’re trying to get something accomplished and you just have to go to another level,” added Spoelstra, whose team will try to do just that in game three on Sunday.
– with AFP
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