The NBA Finals are officially set. It’s the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Miami Heat in a best-of-seven-game series to crown a champion at the end of the longest season in NBA history. And as the NBA season finally winds down to its last few games, we won’t have too much longer to wait for the series to start.
Miami Heat (44-29, fifth in the Eastern Conference during the regular season) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (52-19, first in the Western Conference during the regular season)
The Lakers won both regular-season meetings between the teams — a 95-80 stifling in early November and a 113-110 squeaker in mid-December — but neither were representative of this version of the Heat.
While the Lakers go into it as favourites given they have three-time champion James on their squad, it is Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra that knows his old star better than most.
It will be the top storyline leading up to the start of the 2020 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Heat. King James starred in South Beach for the Heat from 2010-14, leading Miami to two championships in the process.
Some things never change. Riley and Spoelstra remain with the Heat. However, it’s going to be extremely fun to watch LeBron go up against his former team. From an individual perspective, seeing James guarded by defensive stalwart Jimmy Butler and former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala will be a blast.
Anthony Davis leads the Lakers scoring 26.1 points per game, and is averaging 9.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
LeBron James is averaging 26.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 8.2 assists over the last 10 games for Los Angeles.
Jimmy Butler is averaging 19.9 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Heat.
Bam Adebayo is averaging 20.5 points and 10.9 rebounds while shooting 61.7% over the last 10 games for Miami.
Comments from some players and team officials from both ends:
‘The main key, and it’s been like this for a very long time, if you want to win, you’re going to have to go through a LeBron James-led team,’ said Heat’s current star man, Jimmy Butler.
“We know why I came here,” said Lakers All-Star forward Anthony Davis, whose first finals trip comes in his first LA season. “We want to win a championship. We’re four wins away, a step closer to our goal.”
“This group, more than anything, they just love to compete,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said during the trophy celebration.
DURING THE PLAYOFFS:
Lakers: Averaging 113.9 points, 43.7 rebounds, 25.9 assists, 8.5 steals and 5.7 blocks per game while shooting 49.8% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 106.5 points on 45.0% shooting.
Heat: Averaging 112.2 points, 42.9 rebounds, 25.1 assists, 7.5 steals and 4.1 blocks per game while shooting 45.9% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 107.2 points on 45.2% shooting.
By Barimah K. O. D