Los Angeles Lakers are finally the 2020 NBA Champions
The Los Angeles Lakers earned their 17th championship as an organization in purely dominant fashion, destroying the Heat 106-93 in Game 6.
Posting a largest lead of 36 points in a closeout game, the Los Angeles Lakers left no doubt why they deserve to be the 2020 NBA Champions.
Los Angeles was powered by stellar performances from LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Rajon Rondo. The star duo and veteran point guard’s performances seemed to be contagious and fired up the rest of the team. The Lakers role players added key contributions of their own which ultimately deflated a fighting Heat team.
LeBron James, the 2020 NBA Finals MVP, posted his 11th career Finals triple-double, racking up 28 points, 10 assists, and 14 rebounds with just one turnover. Anthony Davis added another 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks, and Rajon Rondo scored just two points shy of his career high Finals points per game with 19 points and 4 assists on 3-4 3PT shooting.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continued his Finals shooting spree with another 17 points, and Danny Green exemplified his veteran composure by bouncing back from his missed three late in Game 5 with 11 points on 3-7 shooting from deep.
It has been a long ten years for Laker fans with many lows. From the 7 year playoff drought to the death of Laker Legend Kobe Bryant, Lakers fans around the world have been desperate for something positive. With the addition of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Laker fans can finally say that they are back on top. Lakers faithful feel the late Kobe Bryant is watching over Los Angeles as the organization celebrates its 17th NBA Championship.
Here is some analysis from the big Game 6 win.
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What made the Lakers so dominant in Game 6?
The Lakers’ adjustments and intensity allowed them to dominate the Heat on both sides of the ball on Sunday night. On defense, Coach Frank Vogel adjusted how the Lakers defended on-ball screens. Throughout the series, the Lakers played the ball screens in a variety of ways. Sometimes, they tried to hedge the screen and disallow the man with the ball to get around the screen. Other times, they simply switched and had the man guarding the screener switch with the man guarding the ball. However, the Heat found effective counters to both these ways of playing the on ball screen.
At the end of Game 5 and all of Game 6, the Lakers played drop coverage where the man guarding the screener would drop back towards the basket. If the Heat player coming off the screen was either Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson, the man guarding the ball would go over the screen to take away the three-point shot and force Herro or Robinson to drive.
If the man coming off the screen was Jimmy Butler, the Lakers would have Butler’s man go under the screen because Butler is not a big three-point threat. By dropping the screener’s defender towards the basket, the Lakers had the ability to eliminate any alley-oops or dump off passes to Bam Adebayo or other Heat big men. There were multiple cases in Game 6 where indecision after a screen would force a mistake against the Lakers defense, either causing a turnover or putting a teammate in a bad situation. The Lakers’ intensity on defense forced 13 Heat turnovers which allowed Los Angeles to get out on the fastbreak.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Lakers attacked the Heat defense. Instead of isolating LeBron on the wing, the Lakers isolated him on the elbow. This allowed James to make his moves closer to the basket and get to the rim. Moreover, when he settled for a shot instead of getting to the rim, he was settling for a mid range shot instead of a lower percentage three pointer.
The Lakers were so effective at executing their offense in Sunday night’s game that they were able to build a 36 point lead while shooting below average from the field and behind the arc. In Game 6, the Lakers produced a basketball masterpiece, particularly on defense, to close out the Miami Heat.
While much will depend on the Lakers offseason moves, it is very possible that the 2021-2022 Lakers will be more dangerous than the reigning champs. Many Lakers players have player options so while next year’s team remains slightly uncertain, Los Angeles will look to build around the core of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
If many of the current players decide to opt back in, the Lakers will most likely roll with who they have and make fringe moves. This would probably mean trying to sign a few players for the veteran minimum and go from there.
If some of the players decide to opt out of their contracts, the Lakers will have the ability to secure a bigger role player with the added cap space. That being said, the Lakers have two cap space exceptions that they can use to bring back a current player who has grown in value, for example KCP, or can use the exceptions to bring a player off the market. Look forward to a piece in this space detailing the best fits for the Lakers in the 2020-2021 offseason.