I know not too many here are into the NBA but I wanted to put this out there anyways just in case I can convert somebody. First off, the NBA did this thing right, they call it the bubble and it has worked well to insulate everyone from the virus. Now if we could do this on a bigger scale, maybe we could get out of this mess! Everyone that wants in is quarantined and tested before entering and so far no virus. The NBA also partly funded a Covid saliva test that could help us all: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-15/covid-19-saliva-test-partly-funded-by-nba-gets-fda-authorization They have also allowed players to put black causes on their jerseys, such as Black Lives Matter, Education Reform, Vote, etc… If you are not a regular watcher of NBA games you may not know who is who since you don’t see player names at the top of the jersey on most players. The season almost ended again after the Jacob Blake shooting but after the players walked out and met with the owners they were able to work it out. The owners agreed to allow all NBA arenas to be voting stations (tell me that would happen in the NFL?).
Now onto the Finals preview. The Lakers come in as the #1 seed led by LeBron James appearing in his 10th Finals. The funny thing is, while old school Lakers fans like myself were wanting the old LA vs Boston matchup we actually get LeBron vs his old team matchup. The faces have all changed on the Heat but the coach is the same and GM Pat Riley is still there. Pat Riley became famous for coaching the Showtime Lakers of Magic, Kareem, and Worthy so this gets even more personal. He also, supposedly, told LeBron he would regret leaving Miami. Miami is led by Jimmy Butler, a castoff budding superstar that got a rep as a bad teammate because he pushed his teammates too hard. The Heat under Riley have always had a reputation as pushing hard so he fits right in there and has been a great teammate to a bunch of young guys that don’t know they aren’t supposed to be in the Finals. The Lakers have 5 players that have been in the Finals and 3 that have won multiple championships. The Heat have 2 players on the roster that have won in the Finals, 1 that gets little playing time and 1 that gets NO playing time. Advantage- Lakers
The biggest matchup to watch is the Brow vs Bam
The Lakers traded away what felt like their entire team to get Anthony Davis (nicknamed the Brow for his unique unibrow). At the time I questioned trading a bunch of first round future stars for an often injured 7ft player but I will admit I was wrong. Davis has been great offensively and defensively though he will need to rebound better to stop the Heat. Bam Adebayo is a future all-star and has played great in these playoffs but will face his biggest test so far. While I give Davis the edge in this match up, it will take LeBron staying in his ear about rebounding and being aggressive for him to win this matchup. Slight advantage – Lakers
LeBron vs Jimmy Butler
They have actually met in the playoffs 11 times (with both on different teams) and LeBron is 8-3 in those matchups. While Butler is an elite defender he gives ups 2 inches and 20 pounds to LeBron. He will have a tough time staying out of foul trouble if he is forced to guard him one on one. More likely, the Heat will use a zone defense to try to slow down the Lakers and that is their best chance at winning. LeBron is on a mission to prove he is still the best player in the game, cement his legacy, win for Kobe’s memory, and restore the Lakers to the top of the NBA food chain again. Big advantage – Lakers
This is where the Heat have a big advantage. The Lakers have been shooting ok in the playoffs but are ranked in the bottom 10 in 3-point shooting while the Heat are the 2nd most accurate team. Youngsters Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro have played out of their minds from the 3-point line. Without the home court advantage a crowd can give they don’t seem to feel the pressure of the moment most young players feel in playoff games. For the Lakers to keep pace, they will need Alex Caruso (the Carushow), Danny Green, and KCP to step up. I would be surprised if they can keep up with Miami which should make the games very close. Advantage – Heat
Bench and role players
The Heat have a very deep rotation that includes Andre Iguodala, a former Finals MVP from the Golden State Warriors. He has only played much in this last round but brings a calm experience to this young team. The Lakers have future Hall of Famers Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard coming off the bench. Both were castoffs and thought to be washed up but have given the Lakers a huge spark in these playoffs. Rondo is known as Playoff Rondo when this time of year comes around and has been the main reason for at least 2 of the Lakers wins in these playoffs. Still, other than Caruso, the Lakers bench has been pretty uneven while the Heat’s has been solid. Advantage – Heat
If the Lakers can get Kyle Kuzma to be the 3rd leading scorer as he was hoped to be, the Lakers will roll. If Goran Dragic has big games and can break down the Lakers defense, it could be a very tough series for the Lakers.
As you all know or can guess, I am a huge Lakers fan. I have waited for what seems like an eternity for this (actually 10 years ago, the last Kobe championship). While the Heat scare me to death with how quickly they have become a championship contender, I have a tough time believing they can beat this Laker team in 7 games. Experience and will should overcome youth and athleticism. The Heat very much remind me of the 2005 Detroit Pistons that beat the Kobe/Shaq Lakers that were heavily favored. The biggest difference I see is that those Lakers had a dissolving chemistry issue between Kobe & Shaq, this Lakers squad has 2 superstars that think they are step brothers. https://lakersnation.com/lakers-news-lebron-james-anthony-davis-compare-relationship-to-step-brothers-movie/2020/09/28/
Lakers in 6