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NBA Finals 2020

NBA Finals 2020: Anthony Davis takes over Game 1 in Finals debut to lead Lakers past Heat

The Los Angeles Lakers have taken the first game of the 2020 NBA Finals.

After getting out to a slow start, the Lakers routed the Miami Heat for the remainder of the series-opener, coming away with a decisive 116-98 victory.

For more on Game 1, we have you covered with some thoughts below below.

Davis dominates in Finals debut

The four-time All-NBA, four-time All-Defence, seven-time All-Star selection waited seven seasons to reach the NBA Finals.

In his Finals debut, Anthony Davis did not disappoint.

The Lakers forward paced the offence in the first half, leading all scorers with 18 points shooting an efficient 63.6% from the field going 2-for-2 from 3. He was dominating all facets of the game, adding four rebounds, three assists and two blocks to his totals through two frames.

He didn't let off the gas throughout the entire contest, terrorizing the Heat's defence every second he was on the floor.

Davis played more aggressive than ever before, tallying 34 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks to power the Lakers to victory. He was extremely efficient shooting 11-for-21 (52.4%) from the field, 2-for-4 (50.0%) from 3 and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.

It was a night to remember for a player eager to shine on this bright stage.

Vintage LeBron

It's the NBA Finals... what else would you expect from LeBron James?

Competing in his 50th Finals game, James looked like the well-seasoned veteran that he is, completely controlling the game on both ends. The Lakers leader and floor general was everything they needed him to be in this one, setting up his teammates often, scoring when he had the opportunity, dissecting that Miami zone defence to perfection.

James finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, coming just one assist shy of extending his NBA Finals record for most triple-doubles (10). He did the majority of his damage at the rim, shooting 9-for-17 (52.9%) from the field while going 5-for-6 from the free throw line, but also buried two of his four 3-point attempts.

With just two turnovers on the night, LeBron's Game 1 performance was nothing short of perfection.

Lakers 3-point shooting

"Can the Lakers 3-point shooting beat the Heat's zone?" How many times did you hear that leading up to the Finals?

Well, Los Angeles answered that question for you in Game 1.

During the regular season, the Lakers shot a suspect 34.9% from 3, ranking them in the bottom-10 in the league. In the playoffs, they've bumped that up to a slightly better 35.5% but it still raised questions against Miami's (usually) stout zone defence.

To open the Finals, Los Angeles shot the lights out. They drained 11 3s in the first half to swing the game in their favour, converting 64.7% of their 3s.

The Lakers' shooting tailed off a bit in the second half once the game was in their control, finishing 15-for-38 (39.5%) from long range, but they made them when the game was still up for grabs.

Danny Green led the way with three 3s while Davis, James, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris all buried two apiece.

Finals debut for Butler, too

Davis wasn't the only superstar making his NBA Finals debut.

The three-time All-NBA, four-time All-Defence, five-time All-Star selection had to wait eight seasons to reach the NBA Finals.

The stage didn't scare Butler away either, keeping the Heat in the game in the first half when the Lakers responded to their opening run. Butler was doing everything for Miami, scoring 16 points shooting 7-for-10 from the field and 2-for-2 from beyond the arc to go with four assists and two steals. He suffered an ankle sprain at the end of the second quarter, but toughed it out, staying in the game.

When the game got away from the Heat, Butler went a bit quiet but still finished with a strong stat line of 23 points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals on shooting 61.5% from the field and 50.0% from long range.

Adebayo's shoulder injury

Bam Adebayo was a monster in the Eastern Conference Finals and all of the playoffs leading up to this point, really.

His physical nature of play down low looked to have caught up to him at times in the series against the Celtics, often wincing in pain from a shoulder and wrist ailment. Amidst the Lakers third quarter that put this game away early, Adebayo was forced to head to the locker room with that same shoulder injury.

He did not return to the game after the third quarter, being diagnosed with a shoulder strain. The Heat would later announce that Adebayo underwent an X-ray, which returned negative.

Adebayo would finish Game 1 with eight points and four rebounds shooting 2-for-8 from the field, struggling to contain Davis on the defensive end.

His injury was just another sign that this was not the Heat's game.

Dragic did not return after halftime

In an awkward play in the first half, Goran Dragic had appeared to have hurt his foot. He went to the locker room ahead of the halftime buzzer and did not return to the game. According to Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes, Dragic went for X-rays before the game's conclusion.

Dragic has been the Heat's leading scorer in the playoffs averaging 20.9 points per game. In one half of Game 1, Dragic posted six points, three assists, two steals and one rebound shooting 3-for-9 from the field and 0-for-1 from 3.

Without his scoring threat in the second half, Miami had no chance of keeping up with the Lakers offensively. This was just one of a couple nagging injuries that the Heat suffered in this contest.

A first quarter of runs

Miami came out blazing hot, throwing the first punch of Game 1. A barrage of three 3-pointers from Jae Crowder sparked a 13-0 run early in the first quarter to give the Heat a lead, but the Lakers didn't waste time fighting back into the game.

Trailing by as much as 13 in the frame, Los Angeles closed the quarter with a 19-3 run as a counterpunch to take a three-point lead heading into the second frame. While Davis' 11 first-quarter points is to be expected, it was Caldwell-Pope's 10 points with two 3s that helped the Lakers get back into the game after a slow start.

LeBron's highlight that didn't count

No, this doesn't count for anything, but it's worth the watch anyway. How is LeBron still doing things like this at age 35 in his 17th season?

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