Grant Green – 23 Sports

The 2019-2020 season will forever be unprecedented in the sports world. The Milwaukee Bucks walking out right before a playoff game was not even the biggest story of this season. With all of the chaos starting back in March with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz game being canceled right before tip off because of coronavirus concerns, the NBA had to put off the season for over four months with the restart of the league in a bubble on Disney’s Orlando campus. After all of the chaos, the Los Angeles Lakers came out on top and tied the Boston Celtics for most NBA titles for a franchise.

After getting smoked in the first two games, a 40 point game for Jimmy Butler cut the Miami Heat series deficit going into Game Four, 2-1. The Heat got even better news with the activation of Bam Adebayo from a neck strain injury suffered back mid-way through the third quarter of game one.

This pivotal game made out to be everything fans would hope for, a constant battle between the two throughout. However, it was the Lakers that put themselves ahead just three minutes into the third and never relinquished the lead from there. Any run Miami made was matched by Los Angeles. Miami’s lead by committee effort with four players scoring 15+ wasn’t enough to take on the two head monster of Lebron James and Anthony Davis, scoring 28 and 22 points respectively, winning 102-96 and putting Miami on the ropes.

Game Five of this NBA Finals was by far the worst situation this Miami team had ever been in at any point in the season. Facing a Lebron lead team facing elimination, they needed a superhero performance to stay alive. Thankfully they got that from their leader Jimmy Butler, 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and five steals in a career performance playing 47 minutes! Not without any help, however, Duncan Robinson had 26 points in his effort. All but one Miami player had double digits.

Another dog fight in this game, but it looked like Miami was going to be able to win comfortably up 11 late in the second, but it took the Lakers no time to trim away at that lead. After taking the lead with a little over three minutes in the first, Miami never trailed until halfway through the fourth despite such a close game. Late into the fourth, it became a battle between Lebron and Butler, trading baskets for what felt like forever. But with 21.8 remaining in the game, it was Anthony Davis that put the Lakers ahead by 1, 108-107, after a missed three by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In the next possession, Jimmy Butler got Davis to draw a foul attacking the basket with 16.8 left in the game. 

Plenty of time left for a well-drawn play call, it was Lebron who went to the basket drawing three defenders with him and would pass it out to a wide-open Danny Green for a three. The shot came up short but not to be outdone, as Markieff Morris was able to grab the long rebound only to completely overthrow Anthony Davis down low and turn the ball over. Probably Lebron’s best performance of the playoffs, a 40 point triple-double and 28 points, and 12 rebounds would go to waste as Miami stayed alive winning 111-108.

The question coming into Game Six without a doubt was, how much did that last game take out of Miami? Videos surfaced of Jimmy Butler struggling to walk when leaving his press conference, so how much will a two-day break help the Heat Star. And our question was answered very soon, as soon as the second quarter started. The Lakers broke out to a double-digit lead and blew the roof off of the game, at one point in the game going up 32 points. It was a disappointing ending to such a surreal season for the Heat. Lebron with another great game 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to secure his fourth ring, winning 106-93.

Despite Anthony Davis’ superb play averaging 25 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, it was Lebron James who was the 2020 NBA Finals MVP averaging 30 points 12 rebounds and nine assists. Lebron becomes the first player to win Finals MVP with three different teams and captures his fourth ring and fourth finals MVP.

Outlook:

What can you say about the Lakers? Of course, some haters said outlandish things about this team, but it is fair to say we all knew they were championship contenders as soon as Anthony Davis was traded from New Orleans. All they are concerned about right now is celebrating. With as crazy as this season has been, it’s interesting to see how next season will pan out because it’s still undecided when the season will even start. One thing the Lakers will have to worry about is that the talent of this league is unbelievably well balanced, and they’ll have a target on their back from everyone.

The Miami Heat have nothing to worry about either. They overachieved completely, starting from the second round. The talent on this team is incredible. They did all of that as a fifth seed, they will get better, and that is all there is to it.

About Smith, Kayler (MU-Student)

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