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Lakers defeat the Miami Heat in Game 2 of NBA Finals to take 2-0 series lead

Lakers forward LeBron James steals the ball from Miami's Jimmy Butler during the fourth quarter of Game 2.
Lakers forward LeBron James steals the ball from Miami’s Jimmy Butler during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

In Game 3 of the 2002 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant scored 36 points, Shaquille O’Neal had 35 and the Lakers beat the overmatched New Jersey Nets. Sure, the score of that game was close — 106-103. But the Lakers were on their way to a four-game sweep to win a championship, the third consecutive Bryant and O’Neal won together.

During the next 18 years, the Lakers made the Finals five times and not until Friday night did another pair of Lakers match their feat of both players scoring 30-plus points in a Finals game.

In Game 2 of the 2020 NBA Finals, LeBron James scored 33 points and Anthony Davis scored 32 against the Miami Heat. Whether they can also sweep their opponent to win a championship remains to be seen.

“I can’t even believe I’m up here talking about myself and AD with Kobe and Shaq,” James said.

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Said Davis: “They both had a competitive spirit with themselves to will their teams to win. I think me and Bron are the same way. We are two guys who want to win no matter the circumstance. We both want to make sure that we do whatever it takes to help our team win. … It’s not always going to be pretty. Sometimes we are going to argue and have disagreements, but we know it’s coming from the right place.”

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 25, while Kelly Olynyk scored 24 off the bench. Goran Dragic (torn plantar fascia) and Bam Adebayo (neck strain) could only watch.

The Lakers again did not relax against an overmatched opponent, holding off the gritty Heat 124-114 to take a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead in NBA Finals.

“This team has a lot of fight,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of the Heat. “Like I said, they are extremely difficult to guard, no matter who is in uniform. Doesn’t matter that they had some guys out. They are a deep team, and you know, with Bam out, they become different from the standpoint of more spacing at the three-point line, which presents different kinds of challenges.”

The Lakers had a few special guests in the building on Friday. Lakers governor Jeanie Buss and team executive Linda Rambis attended their first game in the bubble, sitting inside a raised booth. They waved at general manager and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka. Buss’ brother Joey, one of the team’s alternate governors, was also in the booth, attending his second Finals game.

Highlights from the Lakers’ 124-114 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

The game offered a throwback to an age when the three-pointer didn’t rule, and it was a good thing for the Lakers as they started the game cold from distance and never quite found their rhythm. Their starters made only seven of 28 three-point attempts (Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined to go three for 19 from beyond the arc).

They still scored at a high clip, by making 66% of their two-point attempts.

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While a thorough dismantling was expected, it never truly came. The Lakers led by six points after one quarter despite only making three of 12 three-point attempts. Their hot-shooting from deep in Game 1 helped them pull away from the Heat.

In Game 2, the Lakers made their mark from closer range. They made 22 of their first 25 two-pointers, led by Davis who’s jumper was nearly unstoppable. Davis made 14 of his first 15 shots.

The 6-foot-10 Anthony Davis and his Lakers teammates are overwhelming Jimmy Butler and Miami, as Game 2 proved Friday night.

“His mind-set is he wants to be a champion,” Vogel said of Davis. “He’s extremely motivated to play at a high level. You’re seeing it every time he steps on the floor.”

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Defensively, the Lakers had problems.

They led by 18 in the third quarter, led by Davis who scored 15 third-quarter points. Still the Heat pushed back, pulling to within nine near the end of the period.

At one point, James and Davis appeared frustrated with each other.

“We had some blown coverages on the defensive end and we were both frustrated that we had multiple coverages that were blown tonight,” Davis said. “It was just all piling up and we just kind of had that moment, put it behind us and kept playing.

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“Like I said, it’s not always going to be pretty. It always seem like everything is good with me and him, and we do have our times where we do yell at each other and we do argue, but we know it’s coming from a good place, so we get over it quickly and move on to the next play. We are just two guys that really want to win and have a love for the game.”

Miami never got closer than 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“We definitely were not happy with our performance defensively tonight,” James said. “Hopefully we can be — well, we know, not hopefully, we know we can be better in Game 3.”


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