If there's one storyline that has owned the day today, it's injuries. We started with Anthony Davis getting a stinger in his shoulder to the point where he apparently couldn't move his arm
Fortunately, he was able to come back and played huge down the stretch in the Lakers win. The same can't be said for Ja Morant, who we lost after a scary fall on an AD charge
Unlike AD, we have no idea if Ja is going to play again in this series. The x-rays were negative which is a relief, but his status is still unknown
That's certainly not great and not what you want to hear after just Game 1 of a series. The Grizzlies are already in a tough spot after dropping the opener, now they have to move forward without their best player? You go down 0-2 on the road, where the Grizzlies were 16-25, that's a bit of a pickle.
In the next game, it didn't take long before we had our next injury via charge, this time involving Giannis
He tried to come back in, but right away you could tell something was fucked up with either his tailbone and/or lower back. Any time you have direct contact like that where your back breaks your fall, it messes you up. The unknown here is we don't really know what his status is going to be after tonight. He was shut down for the game, and now has 2 days before Game 2 on Wednesday which is now a pretty huge game for the #1 overall seed after they dropped Game 1.
Sadly, we aren't done. In this same game, right before halftime, Tyler Herro broke his hand
So while Giannis may be back as soon as Game 2, we know Tyler Herro is done. That sucks. All of these injuries suck. I don't care who you root for, the one thing we all should be rooting for is health for everyone. Having major injuries to the star players at this time of year is the absolute worst.
Despite all that, there was still a game to win, and the Miami Heat once again showed up in a huge spot.
Playoff Jimmy Butler, what else is there to say? He got into the real dance and is right back to being a complete menace. The guy is relentless
Make no mistake, the Heat have one of the worst offenses in the NBA. They can't score. Now, without their second best offensive player they still found a way to go on the road against a legit defense and put up 130 points. That's ridiculous. For all the defense Brook Lopez played during the year, when it came time for someone to step up, Bam Adebayo woke up and got whatever he wanted by going right at Lopez
Suddenly the Bucks couldn't get stops. I'm not sure how many times we've seen this Bucks team give up 130 on 59/60% shooting, but this sure was a poor time to do it. What we did see is a lot of their bad habits show up again in a playoff series. Their wing defense is still very old and very slow. That's a problem that I'm not sure how they fix. Jae Crowder, Joe Ingles, Middleton, these guys cannot stay in front of Jimmy Butler. They had all the trouble with Tyler Herro before he got hurt, and that's the same stuff we saw plague them last year.
Then there's the outside shooting. Just 11-45 from three for the Bucks. We saw that a whole lot last year too, only this time it included Khris Middleton. Another game where the Bucks go cold from three and then allow a bunch of 3PM on a high percentage. The Heat can't even shoot and they made 15 3PM.
While things now get infinitely tougher for the Heat to win this series now that Tyler Herro is out of the equation, it all comes down to Giannis. It's not just about if he'll be back for Game 2 and beyond, but what does he look like if he is? Back injuries can linger. Given his playstyle of putting his head down and running into people, he's going to have a lot of collisions moving forward. Sometimes one weird fall can mess you up all over again. That's a big deal not just for this series, but beyond. There's a lot of basketball still to play.
That's why stealing Game 1 is so important for the Heat. Now you just need 3 out of the next 6 and you have 2 games at home coming up. The goal of the first 2 games as the road team is just finding a way to split. Now they have a chance to head home 2-0, which would be something I don't think anyone saw coming.
Just please, no more injuries. Enough is enough.