Preview of the NBA Finals

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The NBA Finals kicks off tonight with the Los Angeles Lakers against the Miami Heat. This is LeBron James tenth finals appearance up against Jimmy Butler’s first ever finals appearance. Will LeBron get his fourth championship or will he lose again and become 3-7 all time in the finals?

In what feels like an eternity, we finally have the NBA finals. The last two teams standing are the LeBron James led Los Angeles Lakers against the Jimmy Butler led Miami Heat. Both these teams have been living in the Orlando Bubble for almost three months! You can bet both these teams want this Championship due to all the sacrifices they have made from not being able to see their family for a long period of time and having to quarantine. This is a finals matchup that the winning team will always be tied to COVID-19 and the craziness that came with this year’s NBA season. 

Preview of the Miami Heat: 

What comes to mind when I think of this team is culture. The Heat came into the playoffs as a five seed. Being able to beat teams like the Bucks and Celtics and get to the finals is super impressive and shouldn’t go unnoticed. Many people would say that they had the Bucks or Celtics representing the eastern conference in the finals this year. They have been playing as underdogs and they have been using that to motivate and prove themselves. During the playoffs, the Heat have assisted 65.9% of their field goals and have made 89.4% of their threes off an assist. On the defensive end, they rank second with 14.4 deflections per game and are one of three teams to allow fewer points per 100 possessions during the playoffs. This team is very active and these numbers show “culture” by trusting each other to shoot when open and give the effort of defense. Throughout the year, they have been led by ultra competitor Jimmy Butler. Butler, during the playoffs, has put up 20.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and also has nearly 2 steals a game. I hear all the sports analysts doubt the Heat can’t do what they are doing now without a true number one player, but after watching this team throughout the playoffs, I have to say that Butler is that number one player that the analysis keeps saying they need in order to have a shot at winning the finals. Butler this season has not only delivered as a player but as a leader. Rookie, Tyler Herro, went on to say, “Ever since I got here he’s been like a big brother to me. … Without Jimmy, I probably wouldn’t be doing this as a rookie,” he said, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell. Speaking of the rookie, he has played a big part this year averaging 16.5 points, and 5.5 rebounds during this playoff run. For a rookie to be an important part of a championship run is very impressive nonetheless and is showing us that he is for real. Another key player for the Heat is Bam Adebayo. Adebayo during this postseason has scored 18.5, 11.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. He is a crucial player for this team and in my opinion, will be the key to how the Heat performs against the Lakers. Lastly, Goran Dragic has been a huge surprise during this run leading his team in points per game with 20.9. Having those veterans step up for your team in the playoffs is huge for a team and he will need to continue to be that veteran presence.

 

Preview of the Los Angeles Lakers:  

From not making the playoffs last year to heading full speed into the finals. This Lakers team is special, having two of the top players in the NBA in LeBron James and Anthony Davis is a scary sight. The Lakers with ease beat the Rockets and Nuggets and look poised to get this Championship ring. During this postseason, the Lakers lead all teams in transition points with 23.3 per game. That is a huge stat because if you look at a lot of the games the Lakers won you can see that if they can’t get transition points then this team would be in many very close games. On the defensive side of the ball, they lead in deflections(15) and blocked shots(5.7) per game. It will be very important for the Lakers to continue this dominant play against the Heat. As I stated earlier, James and Davis are the stars of this team and are the obvious focal points for this team’s success. James has averaged 26.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 8.9 assists. He is almost averaging a triple-double per game! Meanwhile, his fellow star Anthony Davis is putting up 28.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. This duo is scary good and looks to be no sign of them slowing down. However, they will need others to step up like Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to help win this title.

In conclusion, this finals will come down to which team’s role players step up and help their team win. In my opinion I think that the Lakers will win this series in six games. I think Caldwell-Pope and Rondo will be those players who step up and help the Lakers win through Caldwell-Pope’s shooting and Rondo’s smart basketball decisions. Also, the Heat won’t be able to stop LeBron James when driving to the rim. I think Laker nation wants this Championship for the late great Kobe Bryant and that LeBron will lead his team to his fourth NBA finals title and honor the life of Kobe Bryant.

 

Sources:

https://www.espn.com/nba/team/stats/_/name/mia

https://www.nba.com/article/2020/09/28/2020-playoffs-numbers-preview-lakers-heat-finals