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Are the Heat injuries too much to overcome in NBA Finals vs. Lakers?

Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo are both doubtful for Game 2 after going down in the opening loss to the series. We break down what it means for the series and betting odds.

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro, Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic, Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, and Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. come out of a timeout against the Philadelphia 76ers at American Airlines Arena. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We knew we weren’t exactly going to get great news on the injury front for the Miami Heat after the blowout loss in Game 1. Goran Dragic injured his foot, Bam Adebayo banged up his shoulder, and Jimmy Butler twisted his ankle. Dragic and Adebayo are both listed as doubtful to play in Game 2 of the 2020 NBA Finals vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday at 9:00 p.m. ET. So with the Heat looking like they’ll be down two starters, do they have any chance in this series? Let’s take a look.

Can the Miami Heat withstand injuries to stay alive?

The easy answer is no. Even before Dragic and Adebayo went down, the Lakers were dominating Game 1. L.A. was up by 17 at halftime, before Dragic was deemed doubtful to return to the game and before Adebayo re-injured his shoulder. So there was a decent chance on Wednesday night that we were going to witness a blowout regardless of those injuries. LeBron James and Anthony Davis were too much for Miami, and even the supporting cast for L.A. was fantastic. The bench scored 31 points and Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for 24 points in the starting lineup. It’s going to take a lot for the Heat to force even a Game 5.

Can the Heat win a game in this series? Of course. It’s seven games for a reason and the Lakers did let Miami back in the game a bit in the fourth quarter. I believe the lead got down to as much as 15 points before LeBron got pissed off and took over. So it’s totally possible for one NBA caliber team to beat another on any given night. Any given Sunday, amirite? With that said, this is the finals and this is LeBron and AD we’re talking about. The Heat have some depth but not the type of depth that screams confidence with two starters potentially out.

In Game 2 on Friday if Dragic and Adebayo sit, we’ll likely see a ton of Kelly Olynyk and Kendrick Nunn. Well, maybe not a TON of Nunn, but he played well off the bench in Game 1 and was a Rookie of the Year finalist who started most of the regular season. Solomon Hill will be the other non-playoff regular who will have to play minutes. He can knock down an open 3 every now and then, but he also doesn’t add much in terms of offense, which is the issue. The Heat would really need Tyler Herro or Jimmy Butler to take over and there’s a big problem with that: LeBron.

At this point, I’d be surprised if the Heat won a game in this series. It’ll most likely be a sweep for L.A. This was potentially going to be the case even without these injuries. The Lakers would need to go ice cold on offense for the Heat to have a chance in any remaining game. It’s possible but not likely. It’s looking like title No. 17 is on the horizon and James’ 4th championship.

How have the injuries impacted the betting lines?

Well, it’s been about 15 minutes or so since the news broke on Dragic and Adebayo and the spread has already gone from -8 to -9.5 in favor of the Lakers. The ML is up to -500 sitting at -360 before the news. The series lines haven’t moved much but I can’t imagine Lakers 4-0 and Lakers 4-1 will stay at +115 and +200, respectively, for long. We’ll keep an eye on the spread but chances are it will go up to double-digits soon and could climb even higher with more than 24 hours before the start of Game 2.

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