LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers

I had high hopes for the NBA Finals inside the NBA Bubble. LeBron going for his fourth ring and having to do it against the team that helped him win his first is a great storyline. However, after Game 1, those high hopes quickly evaporated.

Top Story: LeBron And The Lakers Dominate Game 1

In Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals, the Heat came out firing. Jimmy Butler was 4 of 4 from the field, the Lakers couldn’t stop the Heat’s ball movement, and Miami appeared to be a resectable advisory to the favored Lakers. The Heat jumped out to a 23-10 lead. Then, all hell broke loose. The Lakers went on a jaw-dropping 75-30 run on their way to a commanding 116-98 win. LeBron James was LeBron, finishing with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists. However, Anthony Davis was on another level of dominance. The Heat had no answers for AD as the superstar big man finished with 34 points and 9 rebounds.

The Heat Are In Trouble Thanks To Their Lack Of Size And Depth

The Lakers were the better team going into the series because they have the best player in the world and another player ranked in the top 5. However, Miami’s top 6 players and their ability to frustrate opponents on defense led many people to believe that the Heat had a chance to upset the Lakers. I was one of those people and right now, my prediction is not looking so good. Going into the series, the Heat would have no answers for LeBron, but at least they have an athletic big man in Bam Adebayo who could contain AD to an extent. In Game 1, Bam was in foul trouble early, and the Lakers had clear mismatches inside and on the glass. The Heat had no answers for AD especially when the Heat went small. The rebounding disparity was noticeable as the Lakers outrebounded the Heat, 54-36. Simply put, the Lakers were bigger, stronger, and tougher in Game 1.

Unfortunately, the Heat were decimated with injuries to three of their key players. Goran Dragic suffered a left foot torn plantar fascia and is doubtful for Game 2. Dragic is the team’s second-leading scorer and when he left the game, the score was only 41-40 in favor of the Lakers. I would be shocked if Dragic returned at any point in this series. Bam is also listed as doubtful for Game 2 due to a neck strain. If Dragic and Bam don’t return to the series, it will most likely end in a Lakers sweep. Keep in mind that Jimmy Butler rolled his ankle in Game 1 so even if he plays in Game 2, he may not be 100%.

Week 9 MVP: Lakers Supporting Cast

I will be first to admit that I did not believe in the Lakers’ supporting cast behind LeBron and AD. I would take five to six guys on the Heat before I would take the third-best player on the Lakers. Clearly, they heard my comment and came firing in Game 1. The Lakers hit a franchise-record 11 3-pointers in the first half and according to ESPN Stats & Information research, 8 of 12 were open looks. KCP, Rondo, Danny Green, and Caruso were all great, especially in the first half. I wouldn’t expect the Lakers to make 11 3-pointers again in the first half, but if they can continue to make consistent shots from behind the arc, Miami is in for a rude awakening.

One quick thought: Do not be a prisoner of the moment. The Lakers supporting cast played a great game. but do not act like they’ve been great all year. I saw so many takes about how we all “knew this was a good supporting cast.” Really? The same people making those takes were the same people banishing Danny Green and KCP to Mars for their poor shooting performances earlier in the NBA Bubble. They played well, but let’s all stop pretending that we didn’t slander the entire Lakers bench all season.

Week 9 LVP: Me

I stand by this rationale. However, right now it seems as if I was incorrect and will be taking a huge “L” within the next week. What’s ironic is I picked the Lakers to win the title both before the season and before the bubble.

Week 10 Storyline: Erik Spoelstra Needs To Be Houdini

If there was ever a time for Erik Spoelstra to pull a rabbit out of his hat, it would be now. Spo faces a tall task especially if he loses both Dragic and Bam. It’s clear the Heat need more size, but can Kelly Olynyk, Meyers Leonard, and Solomon Hill be trusted to play tough defense and rebound? I’m not sure. However, Spo has made the right adjustments in every series so far so I’m expecting an improved game plan from here on out. I’m not ready to declare the Heat dead just yet, but they will be on life support if they lose Game 2.

What are your top storylines from Week 9 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

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