Wednesday November 25th, 2020 12:53AM

Halfway home: Lakers top Heat 124-114 for 2-0 Finals lead

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Anthony Davis got most of his points with a feathery shooting touch. LeBron James flexed his muscle to bulldoze his way to damage. And whenever the lead looked even the tiniest bit threatened, the Los Angeles Lakers had an answer.

The NBA Finals are halfway to a coronation.

James finished with 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, Davis made 14 of his first 15 shots on the way to 32 points, and the Lakers took a 2-0 lead in the title series by beating the short-handed Miami Heat 124-114 on Friday night. The Lakers shot 51%, making 16 consecutive shots from 2-point range in a stretch that started late in the first quarter and ended late in the third.

James and Davis were the first Lakers duo to score at least 32 points in a finals game since Game 3 against New Jersey in 2002, when Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant did it.

“It’s very humbling that we can be even mentioned with those greats," James said.

Shaq and Kobe got rings that year.

James and Davis are two wins away.

“Those guys are playing at an extremely high level, and hopefully we can get two more wins," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

Jimmy Butler finished with 25 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for Miami, which played without injured starters Bam Adebayo (neck and left shoulder) and Goran Dragic (torn left plantar fascia). The Heat scored 39 points in the third quarter and that was only good enough to cut a 14-point halftime deficit to a 10-point hole going into the fourth, mainly because they just couldn’t get enough stops.

“Look, I love these guys. I love the way we compete," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We have to figure out how to overcome this and get over the top.

Game 3 is Sunday night. It’s unclear if Dragic, Adebayo or both could return; each lobbied to play Friday night, before the Heat had to make the call to keep them sidelined.

It’s also unclear how much it will matter.

This is the 24th time that James has had a 2-0 series lead; his teams in Cleveland, Miami and L.A. are 23-0 in the previous instances. And the last time the Lakers’ franchise has wasted a 2-0 lead was in the 1969 finals against Boston.

“Until we win four games, we haven’t accomplished our goal," Lakers guard Alex Caruso said. “It’s been over a year together and we’ve talked about the same goal from Day One. We’re still here chasing that same goal. Until we get four wins, we’re staying hungry."

Kelly Olynyk scored 24 points for the Heat, who trailed by as many as 32 in Game 1 and — even without Adebayo and Dragic — were far more competitive in Game 2. Miami got within nine points in the fourth, but never got close enough to truly put a scare into the Lakers.

“Maybe we've just got to play a lot harder, to know that's how we're going to squeak out a win in the end," Butler said. “There really isn't too much to say to our guys. We understand what we have to do."

Tyler Herro had 17, Kendrick Nunn scored 13 and Jae Crowder had 12 for the Heat. Herro and Meyers Leonard took Dragic’s and Adebayo’s spots in the starting lineup.

“We had it right there on the edge, but we just couldn’t push it over," Olynyk said. “We can build on that."

Rajon Rondo had 16 points, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma each had 11 for the Lakers — who improved to 4-0 in these playoffs when wearing the Kobe Bryant-inspired “Black Mamba" uniforms, one of many tributes to the Lakers legend who died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.

“This is what it's all about," James said. “We're thinking about the Bryant family ... and hopefully we're making them proud."


Heat: Miami led for 53 seconds in the first quarter and have led for 10:44 out of 96 minutes played in the series. ... The Heat have rallied from a 2-0 series hole only once in eight previous tries, that one being the 2006 NBA Finals. ... Spoelstra collided with official Eric Lewis while trying to call time with 7:49 left. They both got a laugh out of it.

Lakers: Jeanie Buss, the team’s owner and president, was in the bubble for the game. ... Flea, the bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers — formed in Los Angeles — performed the national anthem. ... James, in his 10th NBA Finals, has a 2-0 lead in the title series for the first time. ... The Lakers took a franchise-record 47 3s, making 16.


Herro, at 20 years, 256 days, became the youngest player to start an NBA Finals game. He did so eight days younger than Magic Johnson was when he started Game 1 of the title series for the Lakers against the Philadelphia 76ers on May 4, 1980. They’re the only 20-year-olds to start; Tony Parker is the third-youngest, at 21 years, 18 days for San Antonio in Game 1 against New Jersey on June 4, 2003.


The Lakers had a knack in the second half for making clutch 3’s whenever it seemed like Miami was poised to threaten. Rondo made a 3 with 37.2 seconds left in the third to push a nine-point lead back to 12, Kuzma connected 47 seconds into the fourth to make the lead 13 and, with the Heat within nine, Markieff Morris hit with 9:41 left to make it 111-99.


More AP NBA: and

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Halfway home: Lakers top Heat 124-114 for 2-0 Finals lead
Anthony Davis got most of his points with a feathery shooting touch
11:44PM ( 8 minutes ago )
TV's 'Warrior' latest proof that Bruce Lee still holds sway
Even nearly 50 years after his death, Bruce Lee can still make ripples
11:15PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Stewart lifts Storm to Game 1 WNBA Finals win over Aces
Breanna Stewart scored 37 points, including 11 to start the fourth quarter, to help the Seattle Storm beat the Las Vegas Aces 93-80 in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals
11:13PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Landis' name pulled off baseball MVP plaques after 75 years
The name of the former baseball commissioner who never had a Black player in the majors during his long reign is being pulled off all future MVP plaques after more than 75 years
9:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
Heat rule Adebayo, Dragic out for Game 2 of NBA Finals
Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic were both ruled out of Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday with injury, leaving the Miami Heat down two starters for their matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers
8:33PM ( 3 hours ago )
Del Harris receives 2020's Chuck Daly achievement award
Del Harris was a small-college player and once those days were over his life’s goal was to be a successful small-college coach
8:28PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Doc is in: 76ers expect Rivers to lead them to NBA title
The Philadelphia 76ers are counting on Doc Rivers to try and lead them to their first NBA championship since 1983
2:53PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP source: 76ers set to hire Rivers as new coach
The Philadelphia 76ers have reached an agreement with Doc Rivers to become their  coach
11:45PM ( 1 day ago )
Heat are ailing, but insist NBA Finals vs Lakers aren't over
Jimmy Butler had a bandage on his right knee and a wrap on his left ankle
4:32PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
An abundance of risk, not caution, before Trump's diagnosis
No one knows how, when or from whom President Donald Trump became infected with the coronavirus
10:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump, stricken by COVID-19, flown to military hospital
Stricken by COVID-19, a feverish and fatigued President Donald Trump has been flown to a military hospital after being injected with an experimental drug combination in treatment at the White House
10:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
Radish seeds, meats and cheeses launched to space station
A space station cargo ship is chasing after the International Space Station with a special food delivery
9:53PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
GOP faces election reckoning with Trump's virus strategy
President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis is creating a moment of reckoning for his Republican Party
6:59PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump arrives at Walter Reed, releases video
President Donald Trump has arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he will stay a “few days” at the advice of his physicians
6:38PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Official: Biden campaign taking down attack ads
Joe Biden’s campaign is taking down its attack ads in the wake of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection
6:05PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Bubble hockey champions: Tampa Bay Lightning win Stanley Cup
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the champions of bubble hockey
2:09AM ( 3 days ago )
Lakers, Heat start their preparations for NBA Finals
What was once a 22-team bubble at Walt Disney World is down to the final two, with Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat set to take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals
7:42PM ( 4 days ago )
Doc Rivers out as Clippers' coach, after seven seasons
Doc Rivers says he’s out as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, though did not specify if he chose to leave on his own or if he was fired
6:28PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
TV's 'Warrior' latest proof that Bruce Lee still holds sway
Even nearly 50 years after his death, Bruce Lee can still make ripples
11:15PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Stewart lifts Storm to Game 1 WNBA Finals win over Aces
Breanna Stewart scored 37 points, including 11 to start the fourth quarter, to help the Seattle Storm beat the Las Vegas Aces 93-80 in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals
11:13PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Virus spreads on panel handling Supreme Court nomination
Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have tested positive for the coronavirus
11:10PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Grand jury audio details raid that killed Breonna Taylor
Police say they knocked and announced themselves for a minute or more before bursting into Breonna Taylor’s apartment
11:07PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Autopsy finds LA deputies shot Black man 16 times
An autopsy report says a Black man shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies was wounded 16 times in the front and back
11:03PM ( 50 minutes ago )