Heat’s Pat Riley admits to NBA Finals ‘asterisk’ due to Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic injuries
However, Riley personally thought the series would had have a different outcome if Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic didn’t get hurt. At the very least, there would have been a Game 7:
Pat Riley thinks the Finals would've gone to seven games if Bam and Goran were 100% 🤔 pic.twitter.com/HK1Vopchpu
— ESPN (@espn) October 25, 2020
While the “asterisk” comment will certain raise eyebrows, ESPN’s Jorge Sedano further clarified Riley’s statement by saying he was simply referring to his team’s health and not the validity of the Lakers’ championship:
Riley even used the example of how he coached 2 Lakers teams that dealt with injuries and got swept.
We need to do better, when doing this.
There’s no wonder there is a mistrust of those in our profession
— Jorge Sedano (@Sedano) October 25, 2020
Bam Adebayo went down in Game 1 with a neck injury and left after tallying eight points and four rebounds through 21 minutes played in the 116-98 loss by the Heat to open the series. He missed Games 2 and 3 but made a valiant effort to return in Game 4 despite not being in full playing condition.
The former Kentucky standout recorded better numbers with 15 points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes of action, but his performance still resulted in a 102-96 defeat. The Heat star continued to see action in Game 5, in which he contributed 13 points and four rebounds, followed by 25 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in Game 6.
On the other hand, Goran Dragic also abruptly exited Game 1 with a torn plantar fascia. His injury forced him to be sidelined the next four games games of the series. He eventually made a surprise return in Game 6, notching five points and five rebounds in the loss that ended the Heat’s season.
Despite the loss, the Heat know they gave it all on the floor and posed a valiant challenge to the powerhouse Lakers squad. Their unexpected deep playoff run in the 2019-2020 NBA season should serve as an encouraging sign for Pat Riley and the entire Heat organization.