The Miami Heat are running out of players. Midway through the third quarter, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic are all dealing with apparent injuries. It started in the second quarter, as Butler tried to score on Lakers big man Anthony Davis. He appeared to land awkwardly on the play, with his ankle twisting. The Lakers quickly made their way down the court before Miami could call a timeout, but Butler stayed in the game afterward to finish the half and started the second half, despite being slightly hobbled.
Things only got worse from there. When the two teams came out for the second half, Goran Dragic was listed as doubtful with a foot injury. Tyler Herro started for him. Later in the third quarter, Adebayo left the game with a shoulder strain, according to a broadcast update. There is no telling what condition any of them will be in as the series progresses, though Butler remained in the game.
The Heat are among the deepest teams in the NBA. Their run to the NBA Finals was made possible by role players like Herro, Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala as much as their best players. But no team in NBA history, no matter how deep, can survive the losses of perhaps its three best players. If Butler is hobbled and Dragic and Adebayo have to miss time, this series will be over.
For now, the Lakers are dominating Game 1. Their lead has stretched into the 20s, and they should be able to walk away with an easy win in this game. That would put them three wins away from a championship. If the Heat aren’t healthy by Game 2, this will be a short series.