The Los Angeles Lakers began their first series of NBA Finals in a decade by beating the Miami Heat 116-98 in their first game Wednesday.
LeBron James – who went into the night with a personal best of 1-8 in the opening games of the finals series – finished an assist before a triple-double as the Lakers humiliated the Heat in the NBA bubble in Florida.
James – who is aiming for his fourth NBA championship against the franchise with which he won his first two – scored 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, while All-Star teammate Anthony Davis scored 34 points and nine. rebounds.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points, with Danny Green contributing 11 to the Lakers, while Jimmy Butler led the way in Miami with 23 points, Kendrick Nunn had 18 and Tyler Herro 14.
The Heat – surprise Eastern Conference winners after starting the play-offs as fifth seed
– made a torrid start to 23-10 but the Lakers immediately took the lead and had a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Lakers – who finished the regular season at the top of the Western Conference aiming for the 17th NBA title and the first since 2010 – flew out of Miami with a 34-20 second quarter to lead 65-48 at half time.
Another strong bout, winning 28-19, built a 26-point lead in the last one, as the Lakers slackened and were outscored 31-23.
James made it clear that his team couldn’t afford to be this sloppy in the fourth quarter in future games.
In a video posted on the Lakers’ Twitter account, James said: “We are not satisfied. I don’t like the way we played.
“I liked the way we played in the second (and) third quarter. But the way we ended up is unacceptable. “
In his post-match press conference on nba.com, James added: “We have a lot more work to do. The work is not finished, we are not satisfied with winning a game. It’s that simple.”
The second game of the seven-game series will take place on Friday evening.