LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers moved one step closer to a championship on Wednesday, dominating the Miami Heat 116-98 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals in a matchup that wasn’t even as close as the lopsided score indicated.
James finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists in the opening tilt against his former squad, looking focused from the start. A fourth career title with a third different team would be a huge legacy booster for James, and for some, it could move him past Michael Jordan in the conversation of the greatest player of all-time.
Notorious LeBron-basher Skip Bayless — host of FS1’s Undisputed — won’t be one of those people who have “The King” leapfrogging MJ.
“Somewhere, Michael Jordan is sipping and chuckling at LeBron James,” Bayless wrote on Twitter as the Lakers throttled the Heat.
Bayless didn’t hold back when it came to blasting James during the game, emphasizing his hot take that this championship chase has been a “cakewalk” thanks to various upsets and injuries. He also accused James of being a front-runner who was stat-chasing in the blowout.
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“WAY TO GO, LEBRON. PLAY ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE 1:23 MARK OF A BLOWOUT TRYING TO GET YOUR TRIPLE DOUBLE VS DEMORALIZED, DECIMATED HEAT,” Bayless tweeted in all caps. “EVEN POWER ONE HOME VS THE BACKUPS AND MEAN-MUG COMING BACK UP COURT.”
Anthony Davis Outshines LeBron James in Game 1
While James was great, an aggressive and effective Anthony Davis was the catalyst for the Lakers early. Davis finished with 34 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in the win. Davis’ performance prompted teammate Markieff Morris to call him the best player in the world — over James.
“It’s easy for AD,” Lakers power forward Markieff Morris said. “Like I’ve been saying since I got on this team, honestly, if you ask me … we got LeBron [James], but I think he’s the best player in the world.
“He [does] it on both ends, he’s doing it consistently every night, he gives you what you ask for every night.”
It was the Finals debut for Davis, who had not been past the semifinals in his career prior to joining the Lakers this offseason. His Game 1 point output was the third most by a Lakers player in a Finals debut, behind Shaquille O’Neal’s 43 points and George Mikan’s 42 points.
“It’s a great honor to be in that category with those guys,” said Davis told reporters after the game. “I mean, they have done so much for the game, Hall of Famers, and for me to come out and perform that way and be mentioned with those guys … obviously that’s a great honor, but I also want to be mentioned in categories with champions, so that’s the next step.”
Lakers Massive Favorites for Title After Game 1 Victory
The Lakers were already big favorites to win the series, but after the dominant Game 1 showing they’re now -1400 to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The Heat are dealing with multiple injuries to key players, including Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic.
“I, and we, are here for him,” Heat star Jimmy Butler said about Dragic, who suffered a plantar tear. “We know how much he wants to win, how much he wants to go to war and battle with us. And obviously, we love him for that and we want him out there with us. But whatever the docs tell him to do, that’s what he’s got to do. … He’s got to take care of himself first.”