The Miami Heat have gotten off to a rough start in the 2020 NBA Finals after suffering a blowout loss in Game 1. It was a contest that the LA Lakers dominated behind their size and shooting that proved to be the difference. The Heat are now dealing with another situation that could be a significant blow to their NBA title chances.
Heat fall short in Game 1 against the Lakers
Game 1 of the NBA Finals quickly turned into a disappointing start to the series for the Heat.
Miami grabbed a 13-point lead early in the first quarter, but the tide quickly turned in the Lakers’ favor behind their balanced offensive play. LA caught fire from beyond the arc, hitting 13 of their first 19 attempts. Meanwhile, the Heat had no answer for Anthony Davis in the paint as Bam Adebayo struggled with foul trouble early and suffered a shoulder strain that kept him off the floor for almost the entire second half.
The Heat played from behind throughout the contest, which saw them make an encouraging push in the fourth quarter, cutting the Lakers’ once 32-point lead to 15. However, the Lakers’ size and shooting proved to be too much for the Heat to overcome.
Things have now taken another discouraging turn with one of their key contributors suffering a serious injury.
Goran Dragic suffers a torn plantar fascia
Beyond the discouraging series-opening loss in the 2020 NBA Finals, the Heat have a more significant concern on their hands.
Miami’s struggles in Game 1 were also a byproduct of the injuries that piling up that saw Adebayo suffer a neck injury, Jimmy Butler sprain his ankle, and Goran Dragic hurt his foot. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Dragic looks to have suffered the worst among those three ailments as he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot.
Although the Heat will re-evaluate Dragic, there is already chatter that he could miss the rest of the NBA Finals. If he’s unable to give it a go, it’s a huge loss as he’s been a substantial part of their playoff push. Dragic provides a unique contribution as a scoring option while he and Adebayo excelled in pick-and-roll situations that have been a staple in the Heat’s offense.
Dragic will likely do everything in his power to play, but he’s dealing with a severe injury. Bobby Marks of ESPN also brought up a previous situation with Joe Johnson back in 2013 that saw him suffer the same ailment. Johnson played through it, but he struggled shooting from that point on in the series. It’s certainly something to watch, but it’s a massive blow for the Heat.
Heat must bounce back in Game 2
It may just be one game in the 2020 NBA Finals, but the Heat are already in a tough spot.
The injury bug has quickly significantly hampered them, making the task of competing against the Lakers that much more difficult. However, Miami has proven to be a resilient team throughout this year’s playoffs.
They have plenty of depth, which could see rookie guard Kendrick Nunn step into a more prominent role. Nunn had 18 points in the second half in Game 1 as it’s the first real action he has received since the Orlando Bubble situation began. If Dragic can’t take the floor or struggles if he plays, the rookie guard’s performance will have to be a significant part of their offense.
It’s an early steep hill to climb, but the Heat know the challenges that lie ahead to compete for an NBA title.