Erik Spoelstra, Jimmy Butler say Miami Heat can bounce back against Los Angeles Lakers in NBA Finals


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla .– Despite watching a 2-0 hole after being outplayed by the Los Angeles Lakers for most of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat believe they can find a way to win. Of course, they played Friday’s game without one of the team’s top scorer in the playoffs, Goran Dragic, who tore the plantar fascia on his left foot. And yes, they were also without Bam Adebayo, who had his neck and shoulder strained.Still, the Heat don’t want to hear about the odds in front of them.

“We don’t give anything what everyone thinks,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the 124-114 loss. “What will it take? Requisites. As simple as that. If you want something bad enough, you’ll understand it. Our group is stubborn, persistent, and we just need to figure out how to beat this opponent. “

Overcoming the size of the Lakers and the ability to master paint on your own is a formidable task for Miami.

On Friday, the Lakers became the first team in the past 20 seasons to score 50 points and shoot 70% of the paint in a playoff game, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Los Angeles recorded 56 points in the paint on 74% shooting.

And without Dragic, who led the Heat in scoring in the first round of the playoffs, and Adebayo – who was Miami’s leading scorer in the conference final – Jimmy Butler had to shoulder a heavy load. Butler scored or assisted on 57 points – the most of his playoff career – in Game 2, according to ESPN Stats & Info data.

“We need him to do amazing things for us,” Heat forward Kelly Olynyk said of Butler. “Like he’s been doing all year, all the playoffs. Whatever happens with the rest of us, we’re going to have to step up and help him. He obviously can’t do it alone, so we’re going to have to be with him to do a little more, a little more, whatever it takes. ”

Butler played 45 minutes, but said he believed he could play 48 if it ensured the Heat could win a game.

“We never give up,” Butler said. “We’re going to fight, and we’re going to ride with this stuff until the wheels fall off. It is not finished. We’re just 0-2; we have to do something special. We’re capable of. I wouldn’t want to be in the trenches with other guys except the ones we have. ”

Butler’s conviction is supported by the fact that the Heat have bragged about being an unapologetic team all season. They believe that the mental advantage instilled in the group will always carry them through tough times. The difference is that this challenge, to beat a Lakers team led by LeBron James, is more difficult than any other obstacle that has appeared in front of them during this campaign.

“We believe in each other,” Butler said. “We have to play near perfect to beat these guys. We haven’t done it yet. And if we don’t do it soon, it won’t be pretty. ”

ESPN’s Nick Friedell contributed to this report.


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