NBA finals: The Heat vs. the Lakers

Audrey Becker, Staff writer

The Miami Heat have clinched their spot in the NBA Finals after knocking out the Boston Celtics in six games. The Heat will continue on to face the star-studded powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers. 

This LA team has two, arguably, top five players in the league in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers finished the regular season with a 52-19 record before entering the Orlando Bubble (the NBA’s COVID-safe arenas in Orlando, Florida), making them the best in the west.

As for the Miami squad: no one expected this level of success from them. At first glance, prior to the season’s start, this Heat roster seemed average, at best; it featured former Sixer Jimmy Butler and ACHS alumni Derrick Jones Jr. The expectations for the Lakers were high, with everyone predicting that they’d be where they are now: the finals. In the East, though, Miami wasn’t even in the picture when it came to a championship contender short list, being outshined by the Sixers, Celtics, Bucks, and Raptors.

The Heat saw themselves as the underdogs, using that narrative as fuel throughout the playoffs to prove the doubters wrong. This team has an interesting group of players, led by five-time all-star Jimmy Butler. Butler was acquired by the Heat through a sign-and-trade deal with the Sixers., The Heat gave up up Josh Richardson in exchange. 

Butler is known around the league for his expert, but sometimes hotheaded, leadership. This aspect of his game, combined with the young talents of Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and the up-and-coming center, Bam Adebayo, is sure to give the Lakers some trouble this series.

“We’re capable of it…we’re gonna worry about us and be the best Miami team we can be,” says Butler in a press conference regarding facing off against the Lakers.

This LA team advanced to the finals after beating the Denver Nuggets in five games in which Davis and James were crucial factors. This finals run has been bigger than basketball to them, though, as they have stated numerous times that they’re doing this for the late Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant.

“The job is not done,” said James in a post-game press conference after advancing to the Finals. 

The big question now is: who will take home the hardware? It seems like a large number of NBA fans and analysts believe that the Lakers will win rather easily, believing that their star power and depth will overpower the opposition. Miami faithful, though, have confidence that their team’s grit and grind mentality, paired with their dynamic roster, will give them the edge over LeBron and friends. 

“Butler, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Goran Dragic—and so it would not shock me at all if Miami wins the series. It’s just very hard to pick against James and Anthony Davis right now. They are the two best players in this series, and they have been locked in for weeks,” said Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated.