The Los Angeles Lakers are 2019-20 NBA Champions, winning the title in six games. The title — their first since 2010 — comes just months after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. The Lakers tied the Boston Celtics for the most titles in NBA history with 17 after a rather quick 4-2 series with the Miami Heat. The Lakers posted a phenomenal 16-5 record through the 2020 playoffs.
LeBron James finished the closeout bout with 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. James was named Finals MVP for the fourth time in his career. He’s the first player in NBA history to win the award with three different franchises.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers Bring Home NBA Championship
Feeling Out the Opponent
The first quarter was tightly contested, and the Lakers finished it with a 28-20 lead. It was hard-fought, but the Lakers dominated defensively. To no surprise, it was James and Anthony Davis who led the way. James finished the quarter with nine points and five rebounds while Davis finished with eight points and three rebounds.
Danny Green hit an important three to boost his confidence. Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also combined for eight points.
The Heat were balanced offensively in the first quarter. Duncan Robinson hit two early threes to finish with six points. Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Bam Adebayo, and Kendrick Nunn combined for 12 points, all scoring three of their own.
Goran Dragic checked in as well, making his first appearance after his foot injury in game one.
The Los Angeles Lakers Smelled Blood
The Lakers were as strong offensively as they were defensively in the second quarter, outscoring the Heat 36-16. They headed to the locker room with a 64-36 halftime lead.
James entered triple-double territory with 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Davis poured in another seven points. Rondo and Caldwell-Pope combined for another 20.
Miami was lost for all of the quarter. Butler finished the half with a semi-respectable 8-5-5 line, but not nearly enough of his usual heroics to keep the Heat in the game.
Two key stats proved the disparity in the first half. The Lakers outrebounded the Heat 29-18 and shot 54 percent from the field compared to Miami’s 34 percent.
It was clear from the beginning that the Lakers were on a mission.
Keep Your Foot on the Gas
The third quarter was more even, with the Lakers having the 23-22 edge. This, of course, was not nearly enough for the Heat as the Lakers took an 87-58 lead.
James added eight points and Rondo stayed hot. The rest of the Lakers team didn’t add much, be they didn’t have to.
Adebayo put the third quarter on his shoulders for the Heat, but it was too little too late. It became clear that Butler was tired and Dragic was not close to his healthy self.
One Last Effort for the Miami Heat
The Lakers started the fourth quarter looking almost too relaxed. Many of their opening offensive possessions ran down the entire shot clock before a violation or poor shot decisions.
Eventually, however, Green knocked down a three with 9:20 left on the clock to pick up the pace. Adebayo responded with a quick bucket, cutting the lead to 21, and Frank Vogel called a timeout for safe measure.
The Lakers looked somewhat sloppy on offense after the timeout but maintained their defensive tenacity. James hit an open three with 5:30 left on the clock, however, and iced the victory.
Impact of an NBA Title for the Los Angeles Lakers
In what will likely go down as the craziest season in NBA history, the NBA’s most illustrious franchise went home with the title, led by one of the greatest players to ever pick up a basketball. If that isn’t a great story, I don’t know what is.
After a six-year playoff drought, the Lakers made their presence known in the NBA playoffs. Despite the unusual conditions — for better or worse, the Orlando Bubble was far from “normal” — and plenty of adversity, the Lakers had little trouble running through the playoff gauntlet. They won every Western Conference series in five games, going through the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets before toppling the Heat in six games in the Finals.
The title is the first since Bryant won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. It ties the Celtics for the most ever. It gives James four titles with three different franchises and adds another NBA title and Finals MVP to his already immaculate resume. In the wake of the craziest season in NBA history, the ending is one for the books.
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