Lakers win NBA finals during interrupted playoff season


by Lincoln Aftergood

Lakers star Lebron James’s jersey, which has been number 23 for most of his career.

Matan Silverberg, Reporter

An exciting NBA Finals capped the return of professional sports following recent nationwide quarantines. The Los Angeles Lakers, led by Lebron James and Anthony Davis, defeated the underdog Miami Heat in six games. 

The Lakers opened up the seven-game series with dominant play, beating the Heat by 18 points in game one and 10 points in game two. An outstanding performance by Jimmy Butler, who had a 40-point triple-double, meaning he had double-digit assists points, and rebounds, led the Heat to a game three win. But the Lakers rebounded in game four, giving them a 3-1 series lead. Game five increased the excitement after the Heat achieved their second win, making the series 3-2 in favor of the Lakers.

In Game 6, the Lakers came to play. They jumped out to a 28 point lead by halftime, and kept the pressure on for the rest of the game, resulting in their 17th championship.

Throughout the series, the addition of Anthony Davis combined with Lebron James’ dominance prevailed over the emergence of Jimmy Butler and the Heat. The Lakers superstar duo gave the Heat problems all series long, as Lebron’s unstoppable ability to play downhill put pressure on the defense which led to many points scored at the rim. This collapsed the Heat’s defense, which also led to openings for more scorers like Davis, who averaged 25 points in the series. 

At 35 years old, Lebron continued his elite play by winning the finals MVP award while averaging 30 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. He is the oldest finals MVP recipient and the only player to win the award on three different teams.

James’ excellence was combined with the Lakers’ newest addition, Anthony Davis, a 6’10 athletic power forward. Throughout his childhood, Davis played the point guard position and was a skilled passer and ball handler. Then after an 8-inch growth spurt, he blossomed into a more unique, versatile player. This skillset next to superstar Lebron’s sustained play formed a dynamic, exciting duo who brought the 17th title home for the Lakers. 

The sensational Lakers season resulted in not only a finals trophy but thousands of new Lakers and basketball fans across the country. Sophomore Coby Malkus, a Los Angeles native who was a Lakers fan for most of his life, started to commit himself more as a fan this year.

“I’ve been a fan of the [Lakers] for a while, and this year I got really into it, so it felt good to see them win,” Malkus said. 

To the greater sports world, this series represented the exciting return of sports that fans had been waiting for months during the Covid-19 quarantine, even without in-person fans. 

“It was more competitive than I thought it would be. I was really happy with the energy, even without the fans,” junior Kayla Liss said.

The finals also marked the success of the famed NBA bubble, which went the entire time in Orlando with zero players testing positive for COVID. Despite the changes due to the pandemic, this series represented what sports fans have been missing for months during the pandemic: sports played by the best athletes in the world, on one of the biggest stages in the world.

“It was awesome to have professional sports back, especially the NBA, my favorite league to follow. I love sports because you see athletes rise to the competition and do unbelievable things and I’m so happy to be able to see this again, especially after such a long wait,” Fritz said.