By: EMZO MORALES
September 30, 2020 was a historic day for the books. The first ever NBA finals ever played in the bubble was filled with excitement as fans from the Heat and Lakers cheered for their respective teams in a battle for glory. Coming into the series, the Lakers weren’t favorites to win as many fans hated the fact that LeBron was gonna get his fourth ring. They didn’t want him to catch the well renowned Michael Jordan. LeBron and his team flushed all the doubters and decided that this year’s championship isn’t really for them, but to honor the great Kobe Bryant who died in a helicopter crash last January 26, 2020.
The Heat started the game leading, 23-10. Although after a brief time-out, the Heat started to fall apart while the Lakers displayed complete dominance and went on to finish the quarter leading, 31-28. Goran Dragic, the heat leading scorer also went down and suffered a torn plantar fascia. This just made the lead of the Lakers increase exponentially. All the Lakers had to do was to put LeBron on the Heat’s second best scorer; Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo, this effectively stopped the Heat’s scoring run.
Bam Adebayo, also went down in the second half which put the Heat’s championship run in jeopardy as the Heat were running out of scoring options due to injuries. The Lakers proceeded to dominate the paint. All they had to do was to give LeBron the ball and drive to the paint. A player from the Heat would then double LeBron which would leave a player open in three or in the paint. This play gave the Lakers most of their points in the third and fourth quarter which would ultimately win them the game, 116-98.
Players such as Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also contributed to the massive lead which has been the story the entire third quarter. They haven’t really performed to their full-potential in the bubble and completely fell out of the current Lakers rotation. Danny Green shot 36% beyond the arc while KCP averaged seven points while shooting 38% from beyond the arc. However, they did manage to show up in the finals which was exactly what the Lakers needed in a game like this.
After the game, the Lakers walked off the court with their game faces still on. You could see how unsatisfied they were. The “Mamba Mentality” in them has awoken which could potentially be very deadly. LeBron even mentioned how much he hated the way the Lakers closed the game. They gave away 31 points in the fourth which he expressed is very “disappointing”.
This was just the first game of the NBA finals. The question still remains; Will the Heat, who have been underdogs the entire playoffs bounce back from the adversity faced in this game or will the dominant Lakers win it all in 4?