The Miami Heat played much better in Game 2 but that still wasn’t enough to avoid a double digit loss. They do hope to have some reinforcements today but that might not be enough as well as the Lakers are playing right now. Miami needs a win today or this series could be over very early.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat
Sunday, October 4th, 2020 – 7:30 PM EDT at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, FL
Miami Needs to Start Making Threes
Coming into this series, there were several advantages that the Lakers enjoyed over this Heat team. Other than star power (Lakers have two of the top five players in the league), the Lakers have a tremendous size advantage over the Heat. On the flip side, the Heat have a zone that was supposed to be the great equalizer and they are also a much better three point shooting team.
None of Miami's advantages have come to the forefront in this series, particularly the three-point shooting. Through two games, the Lakers have taken and made more threes than the Heat and if that trend continues, we should expect a sweep here. Now that the Heat are short handed due to injury, it is even more imperative that they close the gap on Los Angeles by being much more aggressive from outside although we should also credit the Lakers defense for not allowing Miami's shooters open looks.
The total for this game opened at 218.5 at most of the top online sportsbooks. A quick look at the SBR odds page will show you that the line has settled between 219 and 220 depending on where you shop. I took the over in the last game for one very specific reason; Miami's zone isn't working against the Lakers and the totals have been trending over, especially in the first half.
Anthony Davis Is Unstoppable Right Now
I'm not sure what the Heat have planned for Game 3 but it better include getting the ball out of Anthony Davis' hands. The zone is not affecting Davis at all and the reality is, it would be hard to double team him unless you play man. The Heat are really stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. Their zone is giving up 1.22 points per possession which is ridiculously bad. Anything over 1.1 is considered really bad just for context on that stat (Dallas had the highest rated offense in the league and was at 1.01). To make things even more complicated, their man to man offense has been even worse than the zone.
LeBron James has one of the highest basketball IQ's of all time. If you pay attention to what he's doing, he's essentially playing inside against the zone as he should. When LeBron gets below the free throw line, you have no choice but to pay closer attention to him which inevitably frees up AD for easy looks at the basket. Through two games, Davis is averaging 33 points and 11.5 rebounds on 63% from the field. If that continues, this series will be done in four games.
There have been over 120 points scored in the first halves of games 1 and 2. I expect that trend to continue until the Heat prove they can slow the Lakers down a little bit. Even if they manage that, from my perspective, the only way they can keep up with Los Angeles is if they shoot way more threes which also plays to the over. Nothing about this series so far makes me believe we're going to see an under considering Game 2 was played at Miami's pace and still went way over.