Los Angeles Lakers win 17th NBA title

Jude Papillion, Associate Sports Editor

The Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th NBA Championship on Sunday against the Miami Heat. The victory was the culmination of the NBA’s Bubble in Orlando, Florida, which hosted the league’s restart amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was Los Angeles’ first appearance in the finals since Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to a thrilling game-seven victory over the Boston Celtics in 2010. Before this season, the Lakers had not made the playoffs since 2013. Miami last competed in the finals in LeBron James’ final season with the Heat in 2014, when the Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.

The Lakers dominated in the first game of the NBA Finals, with Anthony Davis scoring 34 points and James scoring 25 en route to a 116-98 victory over Miami. The Heat were devastated with injuries in the first game of the series point guard Goran Dragic left in the second quarter with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot, and center Bam Adebayo exited in the third quarter with a left shoulder strain.

The Lakers again ravaged the Heat in game two with a 124-114 victory. The Lakers shot a staggering 51%. James led the way with 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists while Davis finished with 32 points.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat to steal game three, cutting the Lakers’ series lead to 2-1. The Heat took down the Lakers 115-104. Butler had an all-time great game, finishing with a triple double 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists with starters Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic still sidelined due to injury. Butler shot 14-20 and had the third 40-point triple double in finals history.

The Lakers surged back in game four, putting themselves one win away from the title with a 3-1 series lead. Davis scored a clutch 3-pointer with 39.5 seconds remaining to secure the 102-96 win. Davis had 22 points while James had 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also contributed with another 15 points. Bam Adebayo made his return, scoring 15, while Butler and Tyler Herro scored 22 and 21 points respectively.

The Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th Larry O’Brien championship trophy last week. (Daisy Rymer)

Butler poured his heart into game five, rallying the Heat to a close 111-108 victory. Butler had another triple double 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists with Duncan Robinson tacking on another 26 points. Despite the loss, James was once again dominant, scoring 40 points to go along with 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers. Davis scored 28 points while playing with a bruised heel, and Caldwell-Pope had 16 points. The Lakers had an opportunity to win the series at the end of game five when James found Danny Green at the top of the key. However, Green’s shot was short, and after a couple of Heat free throws, they forced a game six. 

After spending 95 days at Walt Disney World in the NBA Bubble, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat to win the NBA Finals. James led the Lakers to their championship victory with a triple double 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a closeout game six that the Lakers won 106-93. The Lakers trampled the Heat in game six, outscoring Miami 36-16 in the second quarter to lead by 28 points at halftime. After two outstanding performances in games three and five, the Lakers contained Jimmy Butler and held him to only 12 points. 

After not winning the elusive regular season MVP award that many basketball experts thought he should have won this season, James won NBA Finals MVP for the fourth time and earned his fourth ring, becoming the first player to win championships with three franchises.

https://twitter.com/Lakers/status/1316160940966998016

James, who is 35 and in his 17th NBA season, has strengthened his case in the greatest-of-all-time contest with Michael Jordan after now appearing in nine of the last 10 finals. Jordan still has more championships than James with six compared to James’ four. However, James has the most points and steals in playoff history and is second in assists and made 3-pointers. In the 2020 finals, James averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists, while shooting 59% from the field and 41.7% from the 3-point line, just two months away from his 36th birthday.

Despite everything thrown at the Lakers in the 2019-20 season a new coach and new teammates, the death of a legend, a global pandemic, social justice issues across the country and having to convene for three months in Orlando the team ended its season as champions.