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Recap: Lakers defeat Miami Heat in Game 2 of NBA Finals

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Lakers forward Anthony Davis looks to pass after grabbing a rebound against the Heat in Game 2.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, 124-114, to take a 2-0 series lead.

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat, 124-114, on Friday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Orlando, Fla.

The Lakers lead the series, 2-0, heading into Sunday’s Game 3 showdown.

The 10 best photos from Game 2

Lakers forward LeBron James grabs a rebound away from Heat center Kelly Olynyk. See see all the photos, CLICK HERE >>
Lakers forward LeBron James grabs a rebound away from Heat center Kelly Olynyk. See see all the photos, CLICK HERE >>
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

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LeBron James after Game 2: Anthony Davis is a ‘big-time player’

Lakers forward Anthony Davis throws down a dunk during the fourth quarter of Game 2.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Anthony Davis scored 32 points in the Lakers’ Game 2 win, needing just one free throw and missing only five shots from the field.

Davis is playing in his first championship series and showing up in a big way with 66 points in his first two games. He and James have combined for 124 points in Games 1 and 2.

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LeBron James, Anthony Davis lead Lakers to 2-0 series lead

Lakers forward Anthony Davis scores from close range during Game 2
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers took a commanding 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals with a 124-114 victory over the Heat on Friday.

Anthony Davis scored 32 points on 15-of-20 shooting with 14 rebounds, and LeBron James had 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to close out the Heat, who kept the game close in the fourth quarter despite playing without two of its starters.

Without Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler led the Head with 25 points and 13 assists. Kelly Olynyk addded 24 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

After a dynamic third quarter in which the teams combined for 74 points, the Lakers and Heat had just 42 fourth-quarter points. Davis scored 15 points in the third, but was limited to just two in the fourth.

The Lakers shot 47 three-pointers, making jsut 16 for 34% shooting. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green combined for three-of-19 shooting from long distance.

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Kendrick Nunn denies Anthony Davis with Lakers ahead by 11

After Anthony Davis scored 15 points in the third quarter, he is scoreless in the fourth with the Lakers ahead 115-104 with 4:32 to go. Davis is stuck on 30 points for the game on 14-of-18 shooting, with one of the rare misses coming at the hands of 6-foot-2 Kendrick Nunn.

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Lakers trying to close Heat out

Lakers forward LeBron James tries to clear some space from Heat forward Andre Iguodala during Game 2.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Lakers have a 111-101 lead with 7:49 to go in the fourthquarter despite missing six straight shots. Three have been open three-pointers from Danny Green, who is one-of-eight shooting from long range tonight.

With 29 straight made free throws, the Heat are staying close to the Lakers, despite big performances from Anthony Davis (30 points) and LeBron James (25 points). The Heat missed their first free throw, but haven’t missed since.

The Lakers have taken just 17 free throws, making 10.

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Dwyane Wade thinks Anthony Davis is better fit for LeBron James than he was

LeBron James won two championships with Dwyane Wade in Miami, but when it comes to the ultimate sidekick for “The King,” Wade said Friday that it’s not him.

Anthony Davis has 30 points for the Lakers who lead 108-95 with 10:57 left in the fourth, while James has 25 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

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Anthony Davis starring, but Heat staying close

Lakers forward Anthony Davis lines up a shot during Game 2.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Despite another 30-point game for Anthony Davis, the Heat are within striking distnace after three quarters.

Davis scored 15 points in the third quarter, but the Lakers are ahead by 10, 103-93, going into the fourth.

Davis has 64 points in his first two Finals games so far, putting him in the conversation with two Lakers legends. He has 30 points on 14-of-16 shooting with nine rebounds in Game 2.

The Lakers have led by as many as 18, but the Heat cut the deficit to just nine in the third quarter. Rajon Rondo pushed the Lakers ahead with another big three-pointer. He has 16 points with five assists, making three of four three-point attempts.

Jimmy Butler has 19 points and 10 assists while Kelly Olynyk has 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Miami.

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Domination by AD

Lakers forwards Anthony Davis and LeBron James (23) talk strategy during Game 2.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Heat have no answers for Anthony Davis.

The Lakers forward has been unstoppable in the first two games of the series. He hits open jumpers. He slams down two-handed dunks. He skies over opponents for put-backs.

“This guy,” Jeff Van Gundy said on the ABC broadcast, “is just putting on a show.”

With the Lakers leading 92-79 at the 3:56 mark of the third quarter, Davis has 30 points on 14-of-16 shooting, with seven rebounds, including four offensive boards.

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Anthony Davis joins Bill Russell and James Worthy in elite club

As if 34 points and nine rebounds in Game 1 of the NBA Finals wasn’t good enough.

Anthony Davis is building on his great Finals debut with 24 points on 11-of-12 shooting in Game 2, with the Lakers ahead 82-64 with 8:24 left in the third quarter. Davis is in legendary company already with just two Finals appearances.

Davis also has four rebounds and isn’t just getting his points on point-blank shots in the paint, either.

LeBron James has 17 points, six assists and five rebounds.

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Anthony Davis taking over

Anthony Davis has scored 22 points in 21 minutes as the Lakers lead 77-62 with 9:00 left in the third quarter. Davis is 10-of-11 shooting from the field.

After leaving the court earlier in the second quarter due to what looked like a hip injury, Danny Green was back to start the second half for the Lakers.

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Playoff Rondo has entered the chat

Lakers guard Rajon Rondo gets down the lane for a layup before Heat center Kelly Olynyk can block the shot during Game 2.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Rajon Rondo has nine points and four assists at halftime as the Lakers lead 68-54.

The point guard leads the team in plus-minus rating with the Lakers outscoring the Heat by 15 points in Rondo’s 14 minutes on the court. With passes like the halfcourt dime he dropped to Anthony Davis, it’s easy to see why.

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Lakers lead at halftime after record-setting three-point attempts

Lakers forward Anthony Davis is wide open for a shot against the Heat in Game 2.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Lakers lead 68-54 at halftime after attempting 27 three-pointers in the first half, a franchise record for threes in a half of a playoff game. They made nine.

After Miami cut a 13-point deficit to four, the Lakers finished the half on a 19-9 run. Anthony Davis leads the team with 15 points and four rebounds while LeBron James has 12 points, six assists and four rebounds.

Jimmy Butler leads the Heat with 11 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

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Heat chipping away at Lakers lead

Heat forward Jimmy Butler elevates for a jumper over Lakers forward Anthony Davis during Game 2.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

As the Lakers settled for endless three-pointers, the Heat chipped away at a 13-point lead, getting as close as four before Markieff Morris knocked down a shot from the top of the arc to put the Lakers ahead 52-45 with 3:39 left in the second quarter.

The Lakers are eight-of-25 shooting from three-point range (29.2%) as their Game 1 hot streak seems to have cooled. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has yet to make a three-pointer in five attempts.

Anthony Davis has 12 points and four rebounds.

The Lakers have yet to make a free throw on two attempts compared to Miami’s 12-of-13 shooting for free throws.

Danny Green was seen walking to the locker room with the Lakers up 40-34 midway through the second quarter. He has three points and two assists so far.

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LeBron James taking charge in second quarter

Lakers forward LeBron James puts up a shot against Heat forward Andre Iguodala during Game 2.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

LeBron James has 10 points, five assists and three rebounds as the Lakers lead 40-30 with 8:01 to go in the second.

The Lakers are locking up the Heat on defense, holding Miami to 36.4% shooting. The only Heat player with more than one field goal is Jae Crowder, who is three-of-four shooting for seven points.

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Lakers lead after first quarter

Heat forward applies pressure defense against Lakers forward Anthony Davis during Game 2.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Anthony Davis had eight points and three rebounds in the first quarter to lead the Lakers to a 29-23 lead.

Davis is four-of-five shooting from the field as he and the Lakers are picking apart the Heat’s zone defense for 56.5%.

Jimmy Butler has one field goal and five points for the Heat, who are staying close thanks mostly to free throws.

The Lakers limited the Heat to 14 free throw attempts in Game 1, but Miami has already taken seven in the first quarter Friday. The Heat are six of seven on free throws while the Lakers have missed their only free-throw attempt of the game so far. It was, unsurprisingly, Dwight Howard.

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Lakers lose first-half challenge on Rajon Rondo foul

Frank Vogel challenged a call that Rajon Rondo fouled Duncan Robinson in the act of shooting a three-pointer. The Lakers, up 22-14 with 3:53 to go in the first quarter at the time, lost the challenge as video showed Rondo bumping into Robinson’s hip as the Heat guard was landing.

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Lakers flexing their muscle

The Lakers scored 12 of their first 14 points in the paint as Dwight Howard set the tone early.

After shooting the lights out from long range in Game 1, the Lakers missed their first five three-pointers Friday until LeBron James was left open at the top of the arc.

The Lakers lead 20-14 with 4:42 to go in the first.

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Lakers jump ahead 14-8

Dwight Howard has six points and a block as the Lakers are ahead 14-8 with 7:46 left in the first quarter.

Miami’s replacements in the starting lineup showed up early as Meyers Leonard and Tyler Herro each hit a three-pointer within the first minutes. Herro is the youngest player to ever start an NBA Finals game after moving into the top unit with Goran Dragic’s injury.

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Game 2 tips off as Lakers hope to take two-game lead in series

Let’s go!

The Lakers are wearing the Mamba jerseys for Game 2 as they are trying to take a 2-0 lead in the series against the short-handed Heat.

Flea helped set the stage by playing the national anthem.

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LeBron is slow and steady during warmups

A view from the sideline of LeBron James warming up for Game 2.

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Pregame roll call

The Lakers are welcoming more in-person support in the bubble for Game 2.

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Lakers keep starting lineup consistent with Dwight Howard at center

Dwight Howard will keep the starting center spot for the Lakers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Times’ NBA writer Dan Woike reports from the bubble. The Lakers will roll out the same starting lineup as Game 1 with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green along with Howard.

The Heat will be without Goran Dragic (foot) and Bam Adebayo (neck). Center Meyers Leonard was elevated to the starting unit in the shuffle. Leonard has made one playoff appearance this year, playing nine minutes in a blowout against the Milwaukee Bucks. He started the team’s first 49 games this season, but an ankle injury before the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the season knocked him out of the rotation.

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Heat will be without Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic

Starting center Bam Adebayo and starting point guard Goran Dragic have been ruled out for Game 2, the Miami Heat announced this evening.

Which leave the team with this starting lineup:

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Dwight Howard discusses the fight against depression

Over the course of these now 84 days of being inside the NBA’s bubble, Lakers center Dwight Howard admitted Thursday that there have been moments when he has been depressed.

Howard discussed that when he was asked about how players were openly talking about mental health issues and how so many of them have talked about the isolation when the league restarted the season on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near here.

He talked about how it was good to “get that feeling of anxiety and depression out of our system.”

Howard said Thursday that the public thinks “you’re sitting at Disney World” and things are rosy for the players while discussing the Lakers’ 1-0 lead over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals that resume Friday night.

Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard (39) passes the ball while pressured by the Heat defenders.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

“For myself, there has been times where I was depressed about just having to be in the bubble, not being able to see my family, my kids,” Howard said. “So, it could be very difficult. So I just tried to find a way to escape mentally by doing a lot of reading, getting out and walking, talking to a lot of the people who work from the NBA who are here and experiencing the bubble as well.

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Keep an eye out for another star-studded virtual crowd

After Barack Obama and former NBA stars like Shaquille O’Neal, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Pau Gasol headlined a star-studded crowd during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, expect another high-profile group of entertainers for Game 2.

Rappers like Big Sean, Ludacris, Timbaland and LL Cool J, with sports stars Richard Sherman, Tyrod Taylor, Sue Bird and Chiney Ogwumike are scheduled to appear in the virtual crowd for Friday’s game, as well as 50 kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles. The kids are part of the organization’s Challengers Clubhouse.

If Bird appears in the crowd, it will be the end of a busy night for the Seattle Storm point guard, who set a record for assists in a half of a playoff game in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Friday against the Las Vegas Aces. Bird had 10 assists at halftime, and the playoff record for a game is 14, held by Courtney Vandersloot.

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The King is on the court

The Lakers will try to take a 2-0 lead over the Miami Heat in the best-of-seven game series tonight. You know who will be leading the charge.

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Heat will see what they have in reserve for Game 2 vs. Lakers

Heat guard Kendrick Nunn and coach Erik Spoelstra talk during a playoff game last month.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

With Game 1 completely decided and the Miami Heat down two stars, rookie guard Kendrick Nunn entered the game and started to get hot.

He drove into the paint and scored, made jumpers and spot-up shots, helping inject some life into a Heat team that had been pretty badly beaten.

And with point guard Goran Dragic doubtful to play in Game 2, it’ll likely be Nunn that the Heat are going to count on to do it all over again.

“I mean, I don’t I think I need a speech or anything like that. I’m ready to play,” Nunn said Thursday. “I’ve been ready, been all season. I had to step up, and simple as that. I’ll be ready to play and compete and go out there and try to get a win.”

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Dwight Howard works on his handle

OK, the video shot by The Times’ Broderick Turner is actually of Dwight Howard loosening up. He actually might need help with his ballhandling skills, or maybe he’s just not warmed up yet.

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A reminder of Kobe

The Lakers have dedicated the season, and winning a championship, to Kobe Bryant. “Leave a legacy” pays homage to a Bryant catchphrase. Each Laker personalized the saying for display on videoboards at AthenaHealth Arena.

Answer: Kyle Kuzma.

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Hey jealousy, there’s no place here in Lakerland

Lakers stars Anthony Davis (3) and LeBron James talk strategy during a break in a playoff game against the Nuggets.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

LeBron James paused for a few seconds as he considered his answer. He had just been asked about the close, drama-free connection he and Anthony Davis have developed during the 15 months they’ve spent as teammates.

What common ground helps their bond?

“We’re not jealous of each other,” James said. “I think that’s the best thing. In professional sports, you have guys that join forces to become alpha males.

“That’s what they call them. Two guys that have been dominant in a specific sport on their own respective teams, and they get together and they talk about how dominant they can be and they talk about this is going to be this and that. I believe jealousy creeps in a lot. And that is the absolute contrary of what we are.”

During Game 1 of the NBA Finals, James and Davis became the first Lakers duo to score 25 points each in a Finals game since Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in 2004. Their connection has helped the Lakers all season, and as Davis goes through his first NBA Finals, its importance is showing more and more. It’s one of the many ways that Davis is surrounded by support as he takes on his biggest challenge yet.

“For me personally, having a team like this, a coaching staff like this and a guy like Bron and [Rajon] Rondo and J.R. [Smith] specifically, and Markieff [Morris], who always instills confidence into me,” Davis said. “…When you have guys always talking to you in your ear about greatness and seeing Bron, how great he is and the things he does on the floor, and guys on our team, as well, who do great things on the floor, it makes you want to be better. It makes you want to fit in with that group.”

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Taking issue with Kyrie Irving’s clutch comments and LeBron

Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) and forward LeBron James (23) celebrate after scoring against the Warriors.
(Jason Miller / Getty Images)

LeBron James isn’t clutch.

Of all the criticisms that have shadowed the Kid from Akron — and they are legion — the tropes that he isn’t a killer, that he isn’t a closer, that he, in fact, needs a closer riding shotgun have been the most persistent. I’m not sure when this first became a thing, but I do know when it most recently became a thing again.

Earlier this week former Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving reignited this flat-earth-level conversation when he went on the podcast “Boardroom” and, in reference to his anticipated partnership with Kevin Durant, told Durant, the host: “I felt like I was the best option on every team I’ve played for down the stretch. This is the first time in my career where I can be like that motherf — can make that shot too.”

A healthy Irving is a top 20 player, and he can live forever off his status as the motherf — who clutch-gened the three-pointer in 2016 that helped deliver Cleveland its first championship in more than half a century. But empirical proof has never been Irving’s thing. As ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry pointed out, James hit 42% of clutch shots — in last five minutes of game, with a score margin of five points or fewer— when he was teamed with Irving, whereas the Mouthy One shot 37% in clutch situations alongside James, including 27% from three as opposed to James’ 37% from downtown.
Imagine struggling to lead a team to a .400 record and still being comfortable taking a shot at a man, a former teammate, who has led a team to the NBA Finals in all but one of the years you’ve been in the league. Shall we continue?

Yes, let’s.

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Underdog much? Heat have no choice

Heat Jimmy Butler composes himself after injuring his left ankle during Game 1.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Jimmy Butler’s left ankle was wrapped in black tape. As he walked off the stage following his media session, he moved methodically, carefully applying the right amount of weight onto each of his slippered feet.

And he’s the Heat star in the best shape.

For Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday night, Miami could be without Bam Adebayo (neck strain) and Goran Dragic (torn plantar fascia). The pair are listed as “doubtful,” which also feels like the proper label to put on the Heat’s prospects.

After a handful of days spent rebuffing any talk about being “underdogs,” Butler knows the Heat have to fully embrace it now because no one could make a sensible argument that they’re anything but an underdog.

“You’re talking about adversity; I mean, for us, we thrive in that,” Butler said Thursday. “I say it all the time, I mean, if you look at it, everybody probably thought they was going to do that to us anyways. They probably think they’re going to do it to us three more times in a row. I beg to differ.

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Lakers using superior depth to their advantage

Lakers players get hyped for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

This NBA Finals is a series in which the Lakers appear to have the superior depth, and they aren’t afraid to throw body after body at the Miami Heat.

The Lakers used nine players during the apex of their victory in Game 1 on Wednesday night, and more of the same can be expected in Game 2 on Friday night at AdvertHealth Arena on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla.

Though Anthony Davis (38 minutes) and LeBron James (36), the team’s two superstars, spent the most time on the court, they were supplemented by the other top role players playing at least 18 minutes in that first game.

Perhaps, the feeling is, the Lakers can wear down the Heat, which mostly goes seven deep and has three injured players, two who might not play tonight — center Bam Adebayo has a strained neck and point guard Goran Dragic tore the planta fascia in his left foot.

“We’re going to play the guys that are going to help us win that stretch,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said in a videoconference Thursday. “Whether that means nine-man rotation, 10-man rotation. We want to keep fresh bodies in there as much as possible, which I probably overextended a couple guys in certain stretches [Wednesday] night. I have to be careful about that.

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