The Los Angeles Lakers team won this Sunday the Miami Heat by 106 to 93, making 4-2 in the NBA final series, thus winning their 17th American basketball league title with a gala performance LeBron James, voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Finals. With this victory, the California franchise equaled the Boston Celtics’ historic championship record.
LeBron James had a triple-double, 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists and, at the age of 35, achieved the fourth title of his career, fulfilling the promise to take the California team to the top of the NBA championship, which did not happen since 2010, and honor the late Kobe Bryant.
“We just want our respect. Rob (Pelinka, coach) wants your respect, coach (Frank) Vogel wants your respect, the organization wants your respect … and I want my damn respect too,” said James defiantly with the award. MVP in hand, while still on the court of the Disney World sports complex in Orlando, Florida.
The point guard, who averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists in the six games of those finals, also received this award in the other three finals he won with the Miami Heat (2012 and 2013) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2016).
“It means a lot to represent this franchise. When I arrived I told Jeanie (Buss, owner of the Lakers) that I wanted to put this team in the place it deserved. It’s an incredible feeling,” recalled James, who has been with the Los Angeles team for two seasons. Angeles. With winger Jimmy Butler -12 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists – and the rest of the Heat exhausted after Friday’s heroic victory, the Lakers went on to win again with a first-half display that led to a half-time advantage points (64-36).
Miami, the big surprise of the playoffs when they reached the final series, dreamed of forcing the seventh and final game and for that they recovered the guard Goran Dragic, who suffered an injury to his left foot in the match that opened the decisive series. But from the first minute it was possible to see that the players of the Florida team were more tired than the opponents.
His big star, Jimmy Butler, had been decisive on Friday with a triple-double with 35 points, but at the cost of staying on the court practically throughout the last clash, this Sunday he barely managed to reach 12 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Pivot Bam Adebayo, who was out of two games in the final due to a neck injury, was the Heat’s biggest scorer with 25 points and 10 rebounds, but failed to repeat the playoff performances against the Boston Celtics.
One minute before the end of the first quarter, and losing by 25-19, coach Erik Spoelstra put Dragic on the court looking for a turnaround, but the Slovenian was off pace throughout the game, finishing with 5 points in 19 minutes.
On the other hand, the Lakers team was a hurricane in the first half with an unstoppable LeBron James attacking the basket and his teammates recovering their lost inspiration, including Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (17 points) and Danny Green (11), who missed the shot of three points that could have given the team the title on Friday.
In search of greater dynamism in the starting line-up, coach Frank Vogel replaced veteran center-back Dwight Howard with point guard Alex Caruso, although the surprise came from substitute point guard Rajon Rondo. At 34, he repeated the level of play he had at his peak with the Boston Celtics with 13 points without fail (6/6) in the first half.
For the first time, the Heat was a team without claws and competitive instinct, its marks in these playoffs at Disney World, in which it eliminated favorites such as MVP’s Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Celtics.
Overturned by Butler in a memorable personal duel on Friday, LeBron James continued to step on the gas in Game 6 and show his superiority in front of his former team, with his teammates celebrating several of their baskets in the field. King James added his 28th triple-double in the finals, just two behind the leader in this category, the legendary Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson.
Another NBA myth, Pat Riley, a former Lakers coach and architect for several Miami champion teams, watched sadly from the stands as his players continued to compete with dignity and sought the result in the final minutes. “Whatever happens in the future, we will remember this experience for the rest of our lives,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “I don’t want to take anything away from the Lakers, they played very well, especially tonight.”
The Lakers’ victory closes two and a half months of competition in isolated conditions at the Disney World sports complex, where the NBA managed to crown a champion safe from the coronavirus pandemic.