Lakers vs Heat Preview
To no one’s surprise, the Lakers are in the NBA Finals. Just as was imagined when Lakers GM, LeBron James Rob Pelinka, traded for Anthony Davis in the offseason, they got there with relative ease. Conversely, in the Eastern Conference the Heat were predicted by very few (shout out to BTB with the value play on them winning at 80-1). Let’s take a look and see how these teams got here, and what we can expect in the series.
To get into the Finals, the Lakers have had an easy playoff stretch. Losing just one game to all three teams they have played; the Lakers really haven’t been tested. It does look like LeBron is exhausted during many of these games, even though he is playing less playoff minutes than ever before. AD has been every bit of the secondary superstar that the Lakers need. The biggest question for the Lakers is can the supporting cast do enough to get the Lakers to bring it home for Kobe.
For Miami, they looked like the clearly superior team in each series they played, despite being an underdog in almost every playoff game they had. It was only in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals – a game they didn’t necessarily need to win – that was a bad game for them. For the Heat to hoist the trophy, they need to slow down LeBron and AD.
The Lakers and Heat did not play any games in the bubble, their last matchup was in December (Lakers won both games) and the Heat had Kendrick Nunn and Meyers Leonard as starters at the time. This is a different Heat team that is playing cohesively. Defensively, expect Butler to guard LeBron – something he has had a passion for since his days under Thibs with the Bulls. He has always guarded him admirably. If he can keep LeBron under 25 points in a game, the Heat should have a very good chance to win that game.
Bam Adebayo is likely going to be on AD. With the athleticism and drive, this is probably going to be the toughest individual opponent AD has played against in the playoffs. No disrespect to Jokic or anyone, but Bam is a better defender. That is not to say that AD will struggle, but it is possible that Bam can slow him down a bit.
As far as role players, this is where the Heat are better. Crowder, Robinson, and Dragic, are better than KCP, Howard, and Green. Even the bench of the Heat is better, especially with the emergence of Herro. The Lakers bench is led by Alex Caruso, who looks like he should be one of the guys wiping the sweat off the floor, not playing in an NBA game.
In the NBA, the team with the better players almost always win in the series. LeBron may be aging, and has a terrible record in the Finals, but he is still the best player left. Anthony Davis is the second-best player meaning this series bodes well for the Lakers. However, you could argue the next five best players are all on the Heat side. The Lakers are a better rated team defensively than the Heat, though both are in the top ten indicating that scores should be on the lower side most of the series.
Personally, I feel like the Lakers will win in 6 games. What do you think?
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