After a decade of waiting, the Lakers 17th win couldn’t have come at a better time. 2020 has been a trying year for people worldwide, so the playoffs were a welcome distraction. Amidst all the uncertainty and bad news, especially with the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, Lakers fans really needed a championship win.
The team was determined to make their fans proud, going above and beyond for the sport dealing with unprecedented circumstances. Perhaps the most challenging being was that players had to live in an isolated bubble cut off from the outside world for over ninety days. The games themselves were also a new experience for players and viewers alike. Without a physical courtside audience there cheering them on, the games truly represented the new-normal with fans participating via webcam.
The Lakers weren’t about to let anyone, or anything, get in the way of them winning this year, and they absolutely dominated in the game six final. With the global pandemic causing all games to be stopped on March 11, 2020, before continuing in July, this has been the longest season in NBA history.
Players showed their dedication by isolating away from friends and family in a secure bubble at Walt Disney World in Florida. LeBron perhaps best summed up the sacrifices the team made in pursuit of the championship when he said:
“I’ve never been without my family this long. Missing the days of my daughter being in kindergarten, even though it’s through Zoom. Missing my son’s 16th birthday, which we all know is a big birthday if you have kids. Seeing my middle child continue to grow and be who he is.”
After dealing with the unprecedented situation, the Lakers were hungry for the crown and blew the Heat right out of the water in game six. The final scores were 106-93, and the Lakers maintained this strong lead for most of the game. Compared to the nail-bitingly close penultimate game five that saw Miami Heat win by a mere three points, game six was a cinch for the Lakers.
Miami Heat never managed to take the lead, and the Lakers were even storming ahead with a massive 36 point lead at one point. LeBron James and Anthony Davies made for a winning combination. While teammate Rajon Rondo also came to win, adding a further 19 points off the bench to LeBron’s 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists, plus Davis’ 19 points and 15 rebounds.
The Lakers won the first game with double-digit points, winning 116-98. LeBron James and Anthony Davies stole the headlines with Davis recording 34 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, and LeBron James adding 25 points, 13 assists. Jimmy Butler injured his left ankle in the first half, but kept on and finished the game with 23 points. Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic could not finish the game due to injuries in the second half.
The Lakers won the second game with double-digit points once again with a score-line of 124-114. James and Davies stole the headlines once again with doubles master-class performances with a record-breaking 33 and 32 points respectively. They became the first Lakers teammates to record 30+ points in an NBA finals game since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal back in 2002.
The Heat required a big turn up in Game 3 from Jimmy Butler since Goran Dragic and Adebayo had been sidelined in game 1 with injuries. Butler turned up and he recorded a record-breaking 40-point triple-double in game 3. The third to ever do it in NBA history since LeBron James in 2015 and Jerry West in 1969. The Heat reduced the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 by winning the third game 115-104.
Anthony Davis sealed the Lakers’ win in game 4 with a 3-pointer about 39.5 seconds to the end of the game. Game 4 was filled with LeBron James and Anthony Davies buzzing performances as usual with Bam Adebayo back in the starting lineup. James recorded 28 points, 8 assists and 2 rebounds while Anthony Davis ended the game with 22 points, 4 assists and 9 rebounds. The performance from shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the first half of the game is also worth mentioning, contributing 15 points with Green adding another 10. The game 4 win brought the Lakers one step closer to the championship as they were now 3-1 ahead.
Game 5 was a very thrilling game that was alive until the very last second of the game. The game ended in 111-108, with both teams exchanging the lead in the final seconds of the game. Butler and The Heat seemed to just shrug off and weather a dominant 40-point effort from LeBron James who ended the game with 40 points from 2 shots as well as 7 assists and 13 rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also added 16 points. Another main highlight of the game was when wide-open Green missed a 3-pointer to win the Championship for the Lakers with about 2 seconds remaining on the clock.
It was a hard-fought victory and Lakers never trailed the Heats at any point in the game, outscoring them in all four quarters. The halftime lead set a record as the second-largest margin lead in NBA finals history since 1985.
The players, trainers and fans surely walked home proud and heads held high – initial underdogs that deservedly achieved far more than they thought they could. With the performance in the finals and all through the season, it is obvious the future is very bright. We hope to see the Lakers in the NBA finals again next year and hopefully, they win another Championship to make it a record-breaking 18 titles.
The Lakers New Dynamic Duo
The Lakers are known for having some of the best NBA duos of all time. Now it seems they have a new dynamic duo in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Their amazing performance, supported by Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso and Danny Green in Game 6 was enough to lead the Lakers to their 7th championship win and first title since 2010.
LeBron himself said it following their Championship Final win, putting his arm around his teammate and proclaiming,
“they ain’t seen a duo like this in a LONG time.”
LeBron couldn’t be more right. Proving right off the bat that they are a force to be reckoned with, the duo scored a combined 59 points in the first game of the finals. Davis himself scored an impressive 34 points, tying him with superstar Elgin Baylor for scoring the third-most points in the Lakers’ history of finals debuts.
Davis reportedly desperately wanted to join the Lakers, knowing that teaming up with LeBron was his best chance at winning the championship. Now, having achieved that goal, AD is a free agent. Having declined his player option, it is still unclear whether or not he will re-sign with the Lakers. But, it seems increasingly likely that he will do so. We hope he does, as we think the duo can continue to help the team maintain its winning streak.
Has LeBron Solidified Himself as the G.O.A.T.?
With his fourth championship win now under his belt, many believe LeBron James has now replaced legendary Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time. Coach Frank Vogel certainly seems to think LeBron is the G.O.A.T. claiming that “he’s the greatest player the basketball universe has ever seen.” With four MVP titles to his name, LeBron is fast approaching MJ’s five MVP record. ‘King James’ has many more years left before retirement, so he will likely beat this and further cement himself as the G.O.A.T.
Not only is LBJ a phenomenal talent. He also is instrumental in helping his teammates achieve their potential. A sign of a true legend. Manager Rob Pelinka said, “the amount of energy he invests in bringing his teammates together and keeping them focused on a common goal is unbelievable.”
Markieff Morris agrees, claiming that “the type of leader that LeBron is for this team is unreal.” We certainly think LeBron has proved himself by now leading his third team to championship victory and finally ending the ten-year slump for the Lakers.
Gone, But Not Forgotten
The world mourned when legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna suffered a fatal helicopter crash in January 2020. The Lakers were determined to make him proud and win in his honor. Throughout the playoffs, the team paid homage to Bryant by wearing his ‘Black Mamba’ jersey.
On winning the championship, president Buss had this to say:
“we have been through a heartbreaking tragedy with the loss of our beloved Kobe Bryant and Gianna… Let this trophy serve as a reminder of when we come together, believe in each other, incredible things can happen.”
Davis echoed these sentiments, saying that ever since Kobe’s death, the team had wanted to win for him, and they “didn’t let him down.”
The last time the team won the championship was back in 2010 with Finals MVP Bryant. It is only fitting then that the team was able to finally win again in his memory.