The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat, 116-98, in Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals on Wednesday, but injuries were the biggest story of the night, unfortunately.
The Heat's three most important players - Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic - all left the game with an injury at one point or another.
Butler turned his ankle just before halftime, but he ultimately returned to the game and finished with 23 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 threes (on 8-13 shooting from the field).
Adebayo (left shoulder strain) and Dragic (left foot injury) did not return to the contest.
Fortunately, Adebayo’s X-rays were negative. Greg Sylvander and Ethan Skolnick of FiveReasonsSports reported that Dragic may be done for the series. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN confirmed that Dragic has "a plantar tear of left foot," but added that he "hasn't ruled out returning to play in the NBA Finals."
(UPDATE: Adebayo and Dragic are now listed as doubtful Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Adebayo has been diagnosed with a neck strain, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.)
Losing Dragic would be a huge blow to Miami, as he has been the Heat's leading scorer this postseason. Ideally, both teams will be at full strength going forward.
After the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra didn't have an update on his injured players.
"I don't have any more news on Goran or Bam," Spoelstra said. "But regardless, the Lakers set the tenor, the tone, the force, the physicality, for the majority of the game and they just took control and we weren't able to get it back."
This game couldn't have gone any better for the Lakers; they pulled away in the second half and are now three wins away from hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy.
Anthony Davis led the way for Los Angeles with 34 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 2 threes (on 11-21 shooting from the field). It was a dominant performance and Davis didn't seem nervous even though he's playing on the biggest stage of his career. LeBron James also chipped in 25 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 threes and 1 steal. This is James' 10th NBA Finals appearance, and he's attempting to win his fourth championship.
For the Heat, Kendrick Nunn had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 threes (on 8-11 shooting from the field) in 20 minutes off the bench. Tyler Herro, the first player born in the 2000s to appear in an NBA Finals game, had 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 threes (on 6-18 shooting, including 2-8 from three) in the losing effort.
"We're much better than we showed tonight," Spoelstra said. "You have to credit the Lakers, and we'll get to work for the next one."
Game 2 is Friday at 9 p.m. ET.