Hyde: Too much Lakers, too little health — Heat in 2-0 hole that looks deeper | Commentary

            The fun, the drama and the series was drained of all juice when Heat coach Erik Spoelstra sat before the Zoom cameras 90 minutes before tip-off and said what we knew he’d say from the time Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo left Game 1 in severe pain.

            “Obviously, Goran and Bam will not play tonight,” Spoelstra said before the Los Angeles Lakers' 124-114 win.


            Just as obviously, the NBA Finals are done, barring some do-you-believe-in-miracles? miracle. Roll the credits. The movie’s over. The script went pop like Dragic’s plantar fascia and Adebayo’s shoulder on Wednesday.

            If the Lakers didn’t show you in Game 1 how tough their top-end talent is for the Heat even when healthy, they effectively won a seven-game series in two undramatic and anticlimactic games on Friday.


            It’s not that the Lakers ran away and hid from the Heat in Game 2. They were always just beyond reach, though. The Heat only trailed by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter despite showing the sieve-like defense of the ’88 Dolphins.

            “We had it right there on the edge, we just couldn’t push it over,” said Olynyk, who had 24 points.

            But the Lakers always felt like they were dangling the Heat by their heels over the volcano, ready to drop them in, no matter how tantalizing the scoreboard made it look. Anthony Davis (33 points) and LeBron James (34 points) were exactly as marketed.

            The only parallel game the Heat could draw some karmic hope from was in 1995-96 when Pat Riley had eight players against Michael Jordan’s Chicago team that went an NBA-record 72-10 that season. “Why are we even here?” Riley said in the pregame speech.

            The difference is the Lakers knew exactly why they were there on Friday. James, chasing his fourth title, and Davis, after his first, weren’t going to fall asleep like the Jordan-aires did in the February of a regular season.

            If you have the heart to question the Heat, they weren’t perfect. That’s the big question. They had to play a perfect game to win this and they didn’t come close. They had to be all-in and, at times on defense, they lacked that extra edge in the face of long odds.

            Olynyk trotted back and got beat by a long, looping pass to Davis for the lay-in plus a foul. Tyler Herro watched Rajon Rondo dribble right by him at the free-throw line for a lay-up. Half-hearted attempts to block out Davis were made.

            All that’s unacceptable, of course. Udonis Haslem said as much in a timeout huddle in the third quarter, taking over from Spoelstra in the center of the team with a raised voice and unrivaled passion. (Serious question: Why not play Haslem for three or four minutes — at least to knock down Davis as he grabbed another offensive rebound?)

            The Heat seemed to pick up their energy then. They had a couple of chances to cut into the Lakers' 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. Their offense, strong all night, couldn’t get those over-the-hump baskets, though. Again, they just weren’t perfect.

            But all that is picking at nits. It’s hard to win a title against a prime-time opponent with a junior-varsity lineup. That’s the real crime of the injuries to Dragic, the Heat’s leading scorer these playoffs, and Adebayo, who was averaging double-digit points and rebounds.

            You can’t even talk about this series in the manner you want. Sports is a conversation. Championship games are the height of that. But there’s no way to have a fun conversation about this series right now. Even at halftime, the ABC halftime crew had low-watt energy and half-measured thoughts.

            Jimmy Butler had 25 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds in 45 minutes. But even as he was on the way to that big night the call came for more.


            "He’s leading in points, but he needs to be a little more aggressive,'' analyst Paul Pierce said at halftime. “He needs to have one of those special nights if they’re going to win.”

            Yeah, OK. Like Jordan 63-point special. Like Wilt Chamberlain 100-point special. Come on.

            Lakers coach Frank Vogel tried to spin the drama in the pregame. He said these “next-man-up type of teams” present “different challenges.”

            He said, “Oftentimes these games are more difficult to win. Our guys understand that, and we’re going to have to be great tonight to get a W.”

            W, as whatever. Not as in win. Not this night. Not missing that much from the lineup. Spoelstra will push for more in Game 3, of course.

            “You have to go to another level,'' he said. "That’s the bottom line. I love a lot of things that we competed tonight. But I think another level would have put us in a position to have an opportunity, a real opportunity, there at the end.”

            That’s the hope. Well, that and Dragic and Adebayo get healthy quick.