LeBron James and Anthony Davis star as Lakers beat Miami Heat 116-98

LeBron James and Anthony Davis get LA Lakers off to a flyer with 116-98 mauling of Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals as injuries to Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo pile on the misery for the underdogs

  • LA Lakers secured a 116-98 victory over Miami Heat at NBA Finals on Wednesday
  • LeBron James and Anthony Davis starred as injury-hit Miami crumbled 
  • Heat’s biggest playmakers Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo were both forced off 

Heavy favorites Los Angeles Lakers dismantled the Miami Heat 116-98 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday, as their opponents struggled with injuries after making a fast start.

The Heat got a 13-point leg up in the first quarter but the lead was short-lived, as the Lakers drained 11 three-pointers to complete a 30-point turnaround and close out the first half, while Miami’s defence crumbled inside the NBA’s quarantined Orlando, Florida, campus.

The Lakers kept the pressure up as two of the Heat’s biggest playmakers – point guard Goran Dragic and forward Bam Adebayo – exited the game with injuries.

Los Angeles Lakers dismantled an injury-hit Miami Heat with LeBron James scoring 25 points 

Anthony Davis also starred as the leading scorer on the night with 34 points in a superb display

The Heat’s Goran Dragic (centre) was forced to withdraw from the game through injury 

Dragic, Miami’s leading scorer in the post-season, suffered a foot injury in the second quarter, while Adebayo left in the third with a shoulder strain after twice colliding with Lakers centre Dwight Howard.

‘We came out slow,’ said Lakers forward Anthony Davis, the night’s leading scorer with 34 points. ‘(If) we want to win this series and become champions we have to play better from the start.’

Sixteen-time All-Star LeBron James, competing in his 50th NBA Finals game, scored 25 points with 13 rebounds and nine assists against his former team.

The Heat’s All-Star forward Jimmy Butler rolled his ankle and fell to the ground, grabbing his left leg with seconds left on the clock in the second quarter and was seen limping on the court afterward, but he managed to finish the game, putting up 23 points.

James scored 13 rebounds and provided nine assists in a dominant performance by the Lakers

Davis (left) said the team must start games stronger in order to win the Championship 

Bam Adebayo left the court injured to give the Heat more concern ahead of Game 2

Players took a knee before the game and wore shirts urging Americans to vote at the election 

Former US President Barack Obama, 15-time All-Star Shaquille O’Neal and legend Kareem Abdul-Jabar were spotted among the game’s virtual fans in the otherwise empty stands in the biosecure bubble at Walt Disney World, where players have been living and competing – isolated from the outside world – since July.

The evening’s event was laced with activism, as players warmed up prior to the game in t-shirts that read ‘VOTE’ and Obama used the opportunity – from his virtual seat – to thank a group of first-time poll workers who signed up to work on the United States’ November 3 election day.

‘I appreciate you and hopefully all NBA fans will appreciate you when they see those shorter lines at the polling places,’ Obama said in a video posted to his Twitter account.

Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters Wednesday that he was initially resistant to the idea of the quarantine, which required ‘extraordinary sacrifices by everyone involved’ but was largely a success, with no positive COVID-19 cases among players.

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