Anthony Davis shook shoulders with LeBron James to celebrate a donqueo during the first game of the NBA final against the Miami Heat. (Mark J. Terrill)
Anthony Davis scored 34 points and Lebron James posted a double-double on his return to the NBA Finals as the Lakers crush the Miami Heat 116-98 in the first game of the championship series on Wednesday night.
James, who plays in the 10th final in his career, finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.
Game 2 is Friday in the NBA “bubble” at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Jimmy Butler scored 23 points after spraining his left ankle. Kendrick Nunn had 18, rookie Tyler Herro had 14 and Jae Crowder 12 for the Heat, who had a 13-point lead in the first set. Bam Adebayo finished with eight goals after coming out of the match with a sore shoulder.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points, Danny Green had 11 and Alex Caruso finished with 10 for the Lakers.
They returned to the final for the first time in a decade and sent a very clear message. James' teams had been 1-8 in the first game of previous finals, with losses in each of the last seven opening games.
In this no.
“We did the job on both ends of the court,” said Davis, who made a phenomenal debut in the final.
The Lakers did what they wanted. They outscored Miami in a 54-36 run, led by as many as 32 points, and made 15 3-pointers, a large number for a team that doesn't necessarily count on racking up that many points from beyond the arc. They are 21-3 this season when they make at least 14 triples.
And if things weren't bad enough for Miami, the Heat determined in the middle that Dragic, playing in his first game of the Final, couldn't continue due to a left foot injury.
The Lakers began the third quarter with another run, this 18-3, and the beating was officially underway.