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Lakers beat Heat in NBA Finals opener




LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket during the game against the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. (AFP)

LeBron James flirted with a triple-double while Anthony Davis dropped 34 points as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat, 116-98, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday (Manila time).

James had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers. Davis pulled down nine boards and dished out five assists while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 13 points for Los Angeles.

The Lakers started slow trailing by 13 points in the early going of the first quarter before stepping on the gas to make their first Finals appearance in a decade into a statement win.

Davis gave Los Angeles its biggest lead, 87-55, off a slamdunk with 6:04 left in the third period.

Rookie Tyler Herro cut Miami’s deficit, 109-96, with 2:31 left in the game but came a little too late for the Heat, who are in their first Finals appearance since 2014.

Jimmy Butler led Miami with 23 points, Kendrick Nun had 18 while Herro scored 14. Bam Adebayo was limited to only eight points and four rebounds.

The Heat, the Eastern Conference fifth seeds who swept the Indiana Pacers before toppling the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics on the way to the Finals, showed no sign of nerves in an energetic start that saw them take a 25-12 lead midway through the first quarter.

But the Lakers inexorably seized control, building on a three-point at the end of the first quarter as the Heat saw key contributors Goran Dragic and Adebayo exit with injuries and Butler hobbled by a twisted ankle.