The Lakers did not seem complacent after their first two victories against the Miami Heat. Team members kept saying they weren’t yet satisfied and that the series wasn’t over. While that mindset is appreciable, they still bowed down against the blazing heat that came from their lesser-hyped opponents.
The Miami Heat were forced to play without Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic yet again. For the Lakers, this would be akin to playing without Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo. Even so, the Heat played a close-knit Game 2 and an even better Game 3. Where did the Lakers fell short?
The Lakers are a two-man show
The first two games were like a dream for the Lakers bench when their role was diminished because of the cushioning provided by the star duo of Anthony and LeBron. But Game 3 was an eye-opener. It is safe to suggest that the team needs to escape from this two-man dependency.
Putting forth the same point, an NBA Analyst and a 2006 Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley expressed his disappointment in the Lakers. He said, “This Lakers team, they’re not a great team. They got two great payers and a bunch of jags, just guys [chuckles]. Just-another-guy, that’s what I call them… They got two guys who are amazing. But if those two guys don’t play great, the Lakers aren’t going to win. And tonight, Jimmy Butler was the best player on-court. That’s why the Miami Heat won.”
The bench that is far from reliable
Barkley’s words might have come as a hard to swallow for Lakers fans, but his statements come backed by facts and figures. Danny Green has an average of 5-something points per game in the NBA Finals. His scores of 11, 3, and 2 weren’t stunning in any way. In Game 2, his FG% was 12.5% and in Game 3, it came down to zero. In the entire series against the Heat, he has made just four three-pointers. On the other hand, the Heat’s Kelly Olynyk has six three-pointers made in just two games.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored just five points off his half-an-hour of play with a +/- of -26, and Anthony Davis surprisingly matched it. The eight turnovers from LeBron James added salt to the injury of the Lakers, who were already struggling with rotation.
If the Lakers want to stop the Heat from leveling with a 2-2, the entire unit must stand and deliver in Game 4 on Tuesday.