LeBron James finally got an easy Game 1 in the NBA Finals. Anthony Davis scored 34 points in his finals debut, James added 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled past the Miami Heat 116-98 on Wednesday night.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points, Danny Green had 11 and Alex Caruso finished with 10 for the Lakers. They returned to the Finals for the first time in a decade and sent a very clear message. James teams had been 1-8 in Game 1 of past Finals, with losses in each of the last seven openers.
On the other hand, Jimmy Butler fought through a twisted left ankle to score 23 points for Miami. The Heat lost point guard Goran Dragic at halftime to a left foot injury and saw All-Star center Bam Adebayo leave in the third quarter after apparently aggravating a left shoulder problem.
Kendrick Nunn scored 18 points for the Heat, Tyler Herro had 14 and Jae Crowder 12. Adebayo was held to eight points in 21 minutes, and Miami went with subs for a fourth-quarter burst that turned a total rout into something only slightly more palatable in terms of final margin.
Miami is down 1-0 in the best-of-seven series. Game 2 will take place on Friday night.
This video shows the NBA players reaction to the West’s top-seeded Lakers beating the fifth-seeded Heat in Game 1: