Los Angeles Lakers land a dominant 17th championship over Miami Heat


The Los Angeles Lakers had plenty of reason to celebrate after defeating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Credit: NBA.com.

Sam Noah, Reporter

For the first time in a decade, the Los Angeles Lakers have secured a National Basketball Association (NBA) Championship. By defeating the Miami Heat in six games for the 2020 NBA finals on Sunday, Oct. 11, the Lakers tied the Boston Celtics for the most championships in NBA history, at 17 each. 

In the most unusual season in NBA history, a franchise that is very familiar with being on top has taken the throne yet again. Their championship concludes a successful experiment by the NBA, with the entire end of season and playoffs taking place in the “Bubble” in Orlando, Florida in order to keep this season going through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Many students at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) and around Ventura are diehard fanatics of the Lakers, as they are a somewhat local team. A poll was conducted on the Foothill Dragon Press Instagram, and 88% of those surveyed said they were pulling for the Lakers to win the series.

The Lakers were a favorite coming into the season due to their recently acquired superstar pairing of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, two of the top five players in the world.

On the opposite team, the Heat’s disadvantages were only heightened by injuries to two of their star players. Starting point guard Goran Dragic and all-star center Edrice “Bam” Adebayo both went down in Game 1 on Sep. 30. Adebayo wouldn’t return until Game 4 and the Heat wouldn’t get both back until Game 6 on Oct. 11.

Despite these unfortunate injuries, the Heat was able to pull off two wins and prolong the series as much as they could, but in the end, the defensive prowess and star power of the Lakers were too much.

Game 1: LAL 116 – MIA 98

Notable Performances: Anthony Davis (LAL) 34 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists; LeBron James (LAL) 25 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists; Jimmy Butler (MIA) 23 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists

The Lakers sent a message in the opening game, pulling away in the second quarter and not looking back.

Game 2: LAL 124 – MIA 114

Notable Performances: Anthony Davis (LAL) 32 points, 14 rebounds, 1 assist; LeBron James (LAL) 33 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists; Jimmy Butler (MIA) 25 points, 8 rebounds, 13 assists; Kelly Olynyk (MIA) 24 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists

Despite a surprise show out game from Kelly Olynyk and another great performance from Butler, the Lakers’ dynamic duo was too much to handle for the Heat.

Game 3: MIA 115 – LAL 104

Notable Performances: Jimmy Butler (MIA) 40 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists, 45 minutes played; LeBron James (LAL) 24 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists

With a 40 point triple-double, Butler had one of the best performances in NBA Finals history and carried Miami to a win.

Game 4: LAL 102 – MIA 96

Notable Performances: LeBron James (LAL) 28 points, 12 rebounds, 8 points; Anthony Davis (LAL) 22 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists; Jimmy Butler (MIA) 22 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists; Tyler Herro (MIA) 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists 

Bam Adebayo scored only 15 points in his return from injury and the Heat were held to less than 100 points.

Game 5: MIA 111 – LAL 108

Notable Performances: Jimmy Butler (MIA) 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, 47 minutes; Duncan Robinson (MIA) 26 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists; LeBron James (LAL) 40 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists; Anthony Davis (LAL) 28 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists

Butler put up another triple-double and Duncan Robinson made seven three-pointers to narrowly overcome Lebron’s 40 points.

Game 6: LAL 106 – MIA 93

Notable Performances: LeBron James (LAL) 28 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists; Anthony Davis (LAL) 19 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks; Rajon Rondo (LAL) 19 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists; Bam Adebayo (MIA) 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists

The sixth and final game of the series was absolute domination from Los Angeles, as they led for the entire game. Despite the Heat being at full strength with Adebayo and Dragic playing, they were not able to get the points they needed to compete. 

The first half was a defensive show from the Lakers, holding Butler to only 8 points at the half.

At halftime, the Lakers were ahead 64-36, the second-largest halftime lead in NBA Finals history. 

With 3:29 left to go in the third quarter, the lead jumped all the way up to 82-46.

Two key components of the game were the supporting roles of Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell Pope. The two veteran guards had 19 and 17 points, respectively, to provide the spark the Lakers needed from players other than James and Davis.

With 8:37 to go in the fourth quarter, the Heat had made their final push and cut the lead to 90-69, but their run faltered and they accepted defeat. 

Adebayo was the lone Miami player who brought some offensive fire with 25 points. Butler was held to 12 points despite playing 45 minutes.

In the final two minutes, the Lakers began to taste their victory and started to celebrate. Both James and Davis were subbed out at 1:27 minutes left and when the final horn sounded Los Angeles rushed out on the court, hugging out their monumental victory. Davis was visibly emotional, head in a towel and veteran J.R. Smith continued his infamous tradition of being shirtless during championship celebrations.

During the trophy ceremony, LeBron was presented with his fourth finals MVP, stating “I want my damn respect.” 

Throughout the post-game festivities, many Los Angeles players and executives paid homage to the late Lakers veteran, the great Kobe Bryant. Many voiced gratitude to his widowed wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their two surviving daughters.

Furthermore, the league and players continued their vocal ways in supporting messages of social justice, with LeBron saying, “when we leave here we gotta continue to push that, continue to push social injustice, continue to push voter suppression, continue to push police brutality, continue to push for everything that’s the opposite of love.” 

With this championship in the unusual year and unusual season of 2020, the Los Angeles Lakers put another title to their name and now are giving the Boston Celtics some serious competition for the most victorious franchise.

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