With a 2-0 lead in the 2020 NBA Finals, LA Lakers are locked in to sweep the injury-ridden Miami Heat. With three of their starters injured in game 1, Miami Heat may as well pack their bags and leave Orlando because they don’t stand a chance against this LA Lakers team with every player playing with a chip on his shoulder. On his quest for the fourth ring, LeBron James is breaking numerous playoffs record as well.
The ‘Bubble’ has brought the best out of the underdogs like Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, and Boston Celtics. Although LeBron James believes this is the toughest route to victory, fans and NBA would beg to differ. The bubble might be difficult to live in without friends and family, but the 3-month healing period and shortened regular season have been an advantage for every single team.
It is almost certain that the LA Lakers will win the title this year, however, there will always have an asterisk beside 2020 champions and not the one that Shaq was talking about.
Take 1: Anthony Davis is NOT carrying LeBron James and the LA Lakers
This seems to be the prevailing narrative of the Finals this season in the media and among fans. Anthony Davis‘ buzzer-beater may have stemmed this narrative, however, the real numbers tell a very different story. There is no denying a buzzer-beater three-pointer is the most impressive shot in the present NBA, LeBron James on the other hand makes sure it doesn’t come to that in the first place.
The LA Lakers are dominating offensively despite a poor performance by shooter Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma. The credit goes to the offensive beast Anthony Davis. Although we must not forget how he generates these blockbuster numbers game after game. It’s LeBron James and his immensely improved playmaking skills that most players on the LA Lakers feed on. Even though LeBron has taken the back seat in scoring, he is averaging close to a triple-double in the 2020 playoffs. He finished second in the MVP race and it would be surprising to know that he AD is only 2 points ahead of him and about 4 assists short.
And if this isn’t enough to disregard the “LeBron is being carried” narrative, Anthony Davis never reached the finals on his own but James did. Although the Lakers started off with a weak bench, their role players have transformed post covid-hiatus making them a deadly team to compete with.
Take 2: If Stephen Curry’s 2015 ring is worthless then so is LeBron’s 2020 ring
To be clear, I don’t consider Stephen Curry’s 2015 ring worthless, but it is the prevailing opinion in the media. Kyrie Irving’s injury has always been used to disregard Golden State Warriors’ 2015 championship run. Injuries are unfortunate but they make the series a lot easier than it should be. Besides, they got past every single team in the western conference, even the defending champions San Antonio Spurs to get to the Finals.
On the other hand, the stars just lined up for the LA Lakers in every series. In addition, the 4-month break gave injury-prone Anthony Davis enough time to heal. In round 1 they faced Portland Trail Blazers and lost to them in Game 1. Zach Collins and Damian Lillard were ruled out of the playoffs in subsequent games and CJ McCollum played with a soar back. They advanced to the second round and played the Houston Rockets. There was nothing particularly wrong with the Rockets except that they’re just a terrible team that shrinks in the playoffs however getting past them is difficult.
While the LA Clippers were preparing to meet the Lakers in the conference finals throughout the season, lost to Denver Nuggets and this young team was just exhausted by the time they faced the LA Lakers.
Now in the Finals, Miami Heat’s primary offensive weapon Goran Dragic is ruled out with a planter tear in the left foot. In addition, Bam Adebayo was sidelined in Game 2 due to a sprained left shoulder. Miami did everything they could in Game 2 but failed to take the lead even once during the game.
This could very well be LeBron James’ easiest playoff run in his 17 years in the NBA. Given all these injuries his ring should be considered as worthless as Stephen Curry’s 2015 ring.