Injuries On the Verge of Robbing Fans of a Competitive NBA Finals Again

Liam McKeone
Jimmy Butler after hurting his ankle
Jimmy Butler after hurting his ankle / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Miami Heat looked like they would give the Los Angeles Lakers all they could handle in this year's NBA Finals for about seven minutes. Miami went on a 23-10 run to start the game. Then it all fell apart as the Lakers surged back and blew the Heat out of the water. But it wasn't just because LA was unconscious from 3-point land, or that the Lakers went 25-for-27 from the charity stripe.

Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Goran Dragic all went down with injuries at one point or another. Butler hurt his ankle, Dragic tore his left plantar fascia, and Adebayo had to leave the game for what the Heat later classified as a neck strain. Adebayo and Dragic are both considered doubtful for Game 2. And -- hot take incoming -- that really sucks!

Injuries are part of the game. But the NBA Finals is when basketball should be played at its highest level. This Miami team isn't as talented as the Lakers squad that boasts three No. 1 overall picks. But the Heat weren't as talented as the Bucks or Celtics, either. It was fun to watch them outwork their opponents, making up for the talent gap with skilled, hard-nosed play. But without Dragic and Adebayo at full health, Miami just has no chance. Fans want a competitive series, but it seems injuries will rob that from all of us. Again.

Last year's NBA Finals was similarly marred by injuries. It doesn't take away from the Raptors' accomplishment, but that series would have been way more fun with Kevin Durant healthy, or if Klay Thompson had not torn his ACL in Game 6. It would have been somewhat lame to see GSW win yet another title, but I would have taken a close series in exchange. Not to say that series wasn't competitive, but not nearly to the level it could've been.

A full strength Heat team may not have beaten the Lakers, but we'll never know now, will we? This series could still be fairly competitive. Butler has never been one to roll over. But nobody really thinks a Heat team minus its second-best player in Adebayo and its best creator in Dragic can really beat Los Angeles. It just sucks.

Man, 2020 really doesn't let up, does it?