It looks like Game 3 could be a replay of Game 2, which is bad news for the Miami Heat.
As happened last game, both Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo will be out due to injuries, the Heat announced.
#LALvsMIA INJURY UPDATE: Bam Adebayo (neck) & Goran Dragic (foot) have both been ruled out of tonight's #NBAFinals Game 3 vs the Lakers.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 4, 2020
“Bam and Goran are both like family, and I can see the anguish in their eyes,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the decision to sideline the players. Adebayo had said he would play in Game 3, but ultimately it is not his call, and Spoelstra essentially said the team had to protect the player from himself, adding this “is the responsible thing.”
“We’re never giving up. We’re going to fight and we’re going to ride with this thing until the wheels fall off,” Jimmy Butler said of Miami’s mentality if the face of these injuries. “It’s not over. We’re just down 0-2, so we got to do something special. We’re capable of it and I wouldn’t want to be in the trenches with any other guys except for the ones that we have.”
The Heat had a strong game plan and played with grit in Game 2: they forced the Lakers to take more threes than they wanted, the Heat played five-out on offense and moved the ball well, they attacked the paint off the dribble and drew fouls (Miami was +21 in points in points off free throws).
It didn’t matter. The Lakers were too big, too talented, they got inside the Heat zone defense and they grabbed the offensive rebound on 40% of their missed shots. The Lakers controlled the game and were never truly threatened in the second half. LeBron James and Anthony Davis both scored 30+ points.
It’s difficult to imagine how Game 3 will be much different, at least in a positive way for the Heat.
Dragic has a torn plantar fascia. While in theory he might be able to play through the pain (this is an injury that usually sidelines a play for at least a month), he wouldn’t have the stability in his foot to use his quickness or make sharp cuts, which are at the heart of his game attacking game.
The bigger loss in this series is Adebayo, who is Miami’s best defender against Anthony Davis. Adebayo is battling both the shoulder injury that slowed him against Boston and a new neck injury. Miami needs Adebayo in the paint and on the glass to slow down Davis and LeBron, and they will again have to hope Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can do the job.