TWO down, two to go.
That’s how the NBA Finals has become. A Lakers show that now dissipates into a virtual countdown evoking the spectacular ’69 launch of that manned spaceship to the moon.
Pitifully, the Heat meltdown has never been that palpable going to their Game Two loss yesterday, a result that was never doubted especially so that Miami starters Bam Adebayo (shoulder) and Goran Dragic (foot) got benched due to injuries.
So outgunned was Miami again that it led but twice — at 5-4 and 8-6.
After Dwight Howard tied it at 8 with a follow-up and next made it a 10-8 Lakers lead on a fastbreak, the Heat never retook the saddle again.
As they had been known all season long, the Lakers are deadliest when given the slightest opening to strike — as sharks when they smell blood.
Looking at a modest six-point first quarter margin 29-23 behind the combined 13 points of Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the Lakers quickly built a 13-point lead at 40-27 sparked by back-to-back threes by James and Alex Caruso.
Breezing to a 14-point, 68-54 halftime cushion, the Lakers blew the game wide open with their 82-64 bulge at the 8:24 mark of the third.
Only gasps of survival were what remained of Miami from there.
If the Lakers can’t make it three straight as they battle the Heat Monday in the seven-game title clash, that’s like saying their first two wins were but Florida flukes.
But how can you say that when Davis has amassed a two-game, 66-point total, firing 32 points in Game Two even as he only had two points in the final quarter?
And James narrowly missing yet again a triple-double with his 33 points yesterday to go with nine rebounds and nine assists in his 51st NBA Finals appearance to pass Magic Johnson in most playoff games played?
In their 116-98 Game One win on Oct. 1, the Lakers set the tone of a murderous march to the throne with an early 32-point margin.
They sort of slowed down in the homestretch, chiefly because benchwarmers Jared Dudley, Quintin Cook and JR Smith were dispatched by coach Frank Vogel to moderate the Lakers’ greed for carnage.
Just two more and the Lakers get satiated after their decade-long title drought — finally.