Disney World is ready for the last chapter of an improbable 2020 NBA season as the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers are set to lock horns in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Heat were not a popular choice to make it this far, but Jimmy Butler and his hungry squad have silenced their naysayers. The Lakers, meanwhile, have fulfilled the lofty expectations of them so far.
Who takes Game 1? Catch this game live on October 1 at 9 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: #1 Los Angeles Lakers (0-0)
The Lakers barged into the NBA Finals on the strength of the tandem of Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The two will continue to propel the Lakers in the finals, as it has yet to be established in the playoffs that they can be stopped.
Davis is scoring 28.8 points per game in the playoffs on a high 57.1 FG% and is also pulling down 9.3 rebounds per contest. Davis will get Bam Adebayo as his main foil in the finals, and while the Heat big man has impressed in the playoffs, the Lakers are confident their own biggie can handle the frontcourt battle in this series.
After all, Davis demolished the Portland Trail Blazers’ formidable twin-tower combo of Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside, while averaging 29.8 points on 57.3 FG%. Miami used the zone a lot this season, but James, as the main playmaker of the Heat, can just use his size and smarts to break down the Heat’s defense and find Davis for easy buckets.
Together with the resurgent Dwight Howard, Davis and the rest of the Lakers can continue having success scoring in the paint, where they have outscored opponents in the playoffs by 9.6 points per game.
ROAD TEAM: #5 Miami Heat (0-0)
You’ve heard the story before: Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra started as a video coordinator for Miami before his remarkable climb up the ranks.
Well, he doesn’t have to watch a lot of tapes to know that to cripple the Lakers, the Heat have to throw a wrench at James AKA the engine that makes LA run.
The good thing for the Heat is that they have multiple wrenches. Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, and James’ old nemesis, Andre Iguodala are all capable of slowing the four-time MVP down.
James can’t be entirely taken out of the equation. However, having three quality wing defenders can help Miami manage the damage he’ll cause in the finals.
Miami’s outside shooting was funky in the Boston series, shooting just 32.3 3FG%, but that doesn’t mean that the Lakers can afford to loosen up their perimeter defense against the Heat’s shooters. Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, and Crowder are all threats from deep. Robinson, for one, is making 40% of his 3-pointers in the playoffs.
The Lakers have the star power, but the Heat have proven they can counter that with their dogged mentality.
James will rack up points attacking the rim while Davis will get his buckets but the Heat will keep Game 1 close until late in the fourth quarter.
In the end, the Lakers win the series opener, 112-107.