It took a decade for them to get back here, but the Los Angeles Lakers have dispatched the Miami Heat in six games, for their 17th NBA Championship. For those keeping track, that pulls the Lakers into a tie with the Boston Celtics at the top of the list of NBA titles.
This finals was hard-fought, and the last few games were closer than many had expected, but there was really no scenario in which anyone saw the Heat being the last team standing in the bubble. Sure, it didn’t help that Goran Dragic tore the plantar fascia in his foot, or that Bam Adebayo had been nursing a shoulder injury likely since his epic block on Jayson Tatum in the Eastern Conference Finals. But they needed Game 3 type performances (40/10/10) from Jimmy Butler all through this series. Are the Heat for real? Sure. But this 5 seed shouldn’t have ever made it this far. It was a hell of a season for them.
On the other side of the floor, this year’s Champions were nothing short of dominant from day 1 in the bubble.
Of course, we can talk LeBron all we want. But where’s the fun in talking about the player better than everyone not named Michael Jordan? The success of this Los Angeles team came down to Anthony Davis being an absolute monster, Rajon Rondo having been here before, and Kyle Kuzma simply fitting into the puzzle where he needs to be.
It was always going to be Los Angeles versus SOMEONE. Going into the playoffs, it was expected to be the Bucks. Then the Celtics. This Miami team was probably the 4th team on the list of expected opponents, and the Lakers treated them as such.
And with the Finals going to a sixth game, further than most thought it would go, the Lakers made a big statement on their way to victory.
So, while it pains me to say, let’s all congratulate the Los Angeles Lakers on earning banner number 17. And further, the NBA for absolutely slaying the bubble, proving they are better than MLB and the NFL by returning to play safely.