Wednesday, September 30, 2020, AdventHealth Arena, Kissimmee, Florida, 9 p.m. ET
Heat at Lakers Betting Preview: Heat (+5/-105), Lakers (-5/-115)
The Heat will enter their sixth NBA Finals and first since a run of four consecutive ended in the 2013-14 season. No franchise has more than the Heat’s six appearances in the last 15 seasons.
The Heat showed an impressive finishing kick in the deciding game of the Eastern Conference finals, outscoring the Celtics 37-27 in the fourth quarter and closing on a 35-17 run to clinch the series 4-2. Bam Adebayo had 32 points with 14 rebounds.
Adebayo has been a go-to performer in the playoffs, scoring 19.7 points per game with 11.5 rebounds since the start of the conference semifinals. He averaged 15.9 points with 10.2 rebounds during the regular season and 10.5 points with 7.7 rebounds in three seasons.
Jimmy Butler, the Heat’s no-nonsense vocal leader, averaged 19.0 points in the conference finals, but shot just 16.7 percent from 3-point range and went 0 of 9 from distance in the final five games of the series.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers earned their 32nd NBA Finals appearance, going back to their days in Minneapolis, and their first since 2010 when they won the title in seven games against the Celtics.
The Lakers won the Western Conference finals 4-1, preventing another series rally by the Nuggets. LeBron James earned his way into a 10th career NBA Finals by scoring 26.7 points with 9.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists in 15 playoff games.
Anthony Davis will play in his first NBA Finals, and he is averaging 28.8 points and 9.3 rebounds in the playoffs. Davis was held under 20 points twice in the playoffs but the Lakers were in runaway victories by 20 or more points.
The Lakers would benefit from somebody who could step into the spotlight and help the big two carry the load. Kyle Kuzma (10.5 points, 3.2 rebounds in the postseason) could be that player, but he will have to make his impact off the bench.
Heat at Lakers Betting Pick for September 30, 2020
James and Davis have the most star power in the series, with Butler and Adebayo left to counter their production. The Heat duo has the ability on defense to make things interesting.
Miami has more options on offense with six players scoring in double figures during the playoffs, including Goran Dragic with a team-best 20.9 points and 20-year-old Tyler Herro, who is averaging 16.5 and growing in confidence.
The matchup to watch, though, could be the Lakers’ Dwight Howard playing defense against Adebayo. If the Lakers’ supporting cast can do the necessary dirty work, L.A. will be hard to beat.
Heat at Lakers Betting Pick:
Lakers 111, Heat 108
Heat at Lakers NBA Finals Game 1 Best Bet
The Lakers’ two worst scoring games in the playoffs came in series openers before they made adjustments to cruise past the Trail Blazers and Rockets.
The Lakers are 8-1 since that Game 1 loss to the Rockets, showing they have found their stride, but the Heat’s well-balanced offense could pose matchup problems in the Finals opener.
Heat at Lakers Best Bet: Heat (+5/-114)