October 2, 2020, 6:27 am
The Heat Is On
The Miami Heat came into the NBA Finals as heavy underdogs at full strength. They currently sit down 0-1 with two of their best players in Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic doubtful for Game 2 and their chances of being competitive in the series without them are looking bleak. Miami jumped out to a 13-point lead in Game 1, with all but three points coming from Bam, Dragic and Butler, before being torched by the Lakers the rest of the way. Adebayo and Dragic both left the game with injuries, while Butler hung in there and gutted out the remainder of the game. Dragic, who is suffering from a torn left plantar fascia, had to leave Game 1 early and has since been listed as doubtful for Game 2. The same goes for Adebayo who is dealing with a neck strain but also has nagging shoulder and arm injuries from earlier in the playoffs. Butler turned his ankle just before halftime, was not listed on the Game 2 injury report and confirmed that he would play on Friday. Dragic averaged 23 points per game in Miami’s first round sweep of Indiana, Butler lead the team with 23 per game in round two against Milwaukee, and Adebayo was the high man in the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston with 22 a night, making the Heat the first team since the, 1999 NBA Champion, San Antonio Spurs to have three leading scorers in the first three rounds, prior to making the Finals. Keep an eye on the injury reports throughout the day as there is an outside chance one of the two, or both, could give it a shot on Friday. Kendrick Nunn would be the direct replacement for Dragic, while Bam’s minutes would be soaked up by a few different front court players such as Kelly Olynyk and possibly Meyers Leonard. Nunn scored 18 points on 8-11 shooting off the bench in Game 1. At this point in the season, I would not expect a LeBron James lead team to overlook their undermanned opponent and I am giving the Heat almost no chance to win this game if they have to play without two of their starters.
Rivers to Philly
Well, that was quick. It was only a week ago that multiple outlets had reported the Sixers job was Mike D’Antoni’s if he wanted it. Within that week, Doc Rivers had been let go by the Clippers, after the disappointing end of their season, and he was swiftly courted to Philly. Only three days after his firing it was reported Rivers received a five-year deal to be the next Head Coach of the 76ers. The initial reports of MDA heading to Philly brought along some questions on how his offensive style would mesh with their roster and some worried if he was the right choice. Doc does not come with those worries. It is not an easy road ahead for Rivers and although he has years of experience working with star-studded rosters, whether or not he can lead the poorly constructed Sixers roster to success is yet to be determined.