It took almost an entire calendar year, but the Los Angeles Lakers were crowned the 2019-20 NBA champion on Sunday night after eliminating the Miami Heat in six games. A season that started at the end of October in 2019 did not come to end until October 11, 2020.
The Los Angeles Lakers were one of the preseason favorites to win the NBA Championship, and they entered the NBA Playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference. Los Angeles was able to navigate through adversity, injuries, upset attempts, and a bubble to win the title.
Los Angeles wasted little time in asserting their dominance in the NBA Finals, cruising to a pair of wins in the first two games. Miami was dealt a couple of devastating injuries in the first game as both Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo went down.
The Miami Heat were able to get things turned around in Game 3 behind a huge effort from Jimmy Butler. Miami came away with a 115-104 win in Game 3 to earn their first win of the series.
Los Angeles stormed back with a 102-96 victory in Game 4 in the lowest-scoring game of the series. The Game 4 victory by the Lakers pushed the Heat to the brink of elimination, but Miami would respond once again.
It took another huge game from Jimmy Butler and some late-game miscues by the Lakers to give the Heat a 111-108 win in Game 5. Los Angeles wasted little time asserting dominance in Game 6, opening up a 30-point lead en route to a 106-93 victory.
The Lakers have now won 17 NBA Championships in franchise history, putting them in a tie with their rival, the Boston Celtics. It was the first championship for the Lakers since 2010 when Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles to a title.
LeBron James Named Finals MVP
The debate between Michael Jordan and LeBron James will only intensify after this win for the Lakers, and a fourth NBA Finals MVP Award for James. Jordan still holds the record with six NBA Finals MVPs, but LeBron is now in second place all alone.
LeBron did make NBA history on Sunday night, becoming the first player in NBA history to win an NBA Finals MVP Award with three different franchises. James has led the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and now the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA Championship.
The Los Angeles Lakers failed to make the playoffs in LeBron’s first year in purple and gold, but the King would not be denied this season. Anthony Davis was also terrific in this series, but LeBron proved once again that he is still the best player in the game today.
Butler Shines on Game’s Brightest Stage
Jimmy Butler has had a strange NBA career, and he has struggled to find his place in the league. Butler was a star with the Chicago Bulls, but he has also been dealt a number of times throughout his career.
The Heat were excited to land Butler in free agency before the 2019-20 season began, and it turned out to be a franchise-altering decision. Butler was arguably the second-best player in the 2020 NBA Playoffs and outplayed LeBron James in at least two of the games.
In the two Heat victories, Butler had a pair of triple-doubles and combined for an impressive 75 points in those games. Butler also left the floor for less than a minute in each game and did his best to carry his team.
The Heat might have come up short in 2020, but there is no doubt that Butler and the Heat will be back and better next season…. Whenever that may be.
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