The shorthanded Miami Heat have allowed LeBron James to get into a position where he’s never failed — a 2-0 series lead.
James had 33 points, nine assists and nine rebounds, Anthony Davis added 32 points and 14 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers overpowered the Heat 124-114 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday night, putting Miami in a serious hole.
James has never lost a playoff series after taking a 2-0 lead — though this is his first 2-0 lead in the Finals — and now the Heat must beat him four games out of five to win their fourth championship.
All-star Bam Adebayo (left shoulder and neck) and playoff leading scorer Goran Dragic (torn left plantar fascia) were held out for Miami. Erik Spoelstra said before the game that both wanted to play but were overruled by the coach.
“I’ve had to play the role of not just head coach but almost a parent the last 24 hours,” Spoelstra said. “These two guys are really amazing. Like everyone in our locker room, there’s a real special sense of brotherhood and responsibility and they’re both lobbying to play. Ultimately, I had to take the decision out of their hands for tonight.”
Rookie Tyler Herro, 20, moved into the lineup, breaking Magic Johnson’s record as the youngest starter in Finals history. Meyers Leonard also started despite barely getting off the bench through the playoffs.
Jimmy Butler had 25 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds to lead the Heat. Kelly Olynyk added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench, and Herro scored 17.
Rajon Rondo chipped in 16 points for the Lakers, who improved to 4-0 in the playoffs when wearing the Kobe Bryant-inspired “Black Mamba” uniforms, one of many tributes to the Lakers legend who died in a January helicopter crash.
“This is what it’s all about,” James said. “We’re thinking about the Bryant family ... and hopefully we’re making them proud.”
Game 3 is Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on Local 10. Our “Countdown to Tip-Off” show begins at 6:30 p.m.