By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
It was one of the most unusual basketball seasons ever as the Los Angeles Lakers took down the Miami Heat 106-93 to claim the 2019-2020 NBA title.
This is said to be the toughest in the history of the game. A few days into 2020 the team lost Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash. Bryant had meant so much to the team and to fans everywhere.
Not long after that COVID-19 flared up and sent the entire sports world packing. Sports fans sat for weeks and were happy when it was announced it would be a league restart. Once the NBA returned, games were played in this thing called “The Bubble.”
In front of no fans LeBron James stepped up and led his team to the best regular season record in the Western Conference and a 4-2 finals series win against a stubborn Heat team.
In the clinching game 6 King James had a triple-double with 28 points, 14 boards, and 10 assist. He claimed his fourth finals MVP award to go with his 4th NBA title. He is only one of six players to win back to back finals MVP’s.
“I told Jeanie when I came here I was going to put the franchise back in the position where it belongs,” said James. “We just want our respect, Coach Vogel wants his respect, the organization wants their respect, Laker Nation wants their respect. I want my damn respect too.”
In James’s first year in L.A. he went down with his first career major injury (groin) half-way through the 2018-19 season. The team didn’t make the post season.
James is the leader in playoff games played, with this is his 10th NBA finals including nine in arrow when he played in the Eastern Conference.
He and teammate Anthony Davis are the first duo in NBA to average more than 25 points a game awhile shooting over 50 percent in the playoffs. That goes with 10 rebounds and 4 assist for AD.
The Lakers have won their 17th NBA title tying them with the Boston Celtics for most all-time. It the first since 2010.
Rajon Rondo made his presence known during the finals where he averaged 9 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assist in the 16 playoff games. The crafty veteran changed game tempo several times getting his teammates involved. He had a record 105 assist coming off the bench.
“To be able to come back and redeem myself and play a big part of this Championship in a hell of a feeling,” said Rondo. “It’s something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Rondo helped the Celtics win their 17 title in 2008 and the Lakers win their 17th in 2020. He and Clyde Lovellett are the only two players to win a title with both teams.
His mind set was great and he put his teammates right there with him. They came out intense on the defensive side and held the Heat to 36 first half points.
Jimmy Butler was a pain in the Lakers side carrying the Heat averaging 30 points, 10 assist, and 9 rebounds for the first five games. In game six it was clamp downtime as the Heat star appeared to be fatigue after playing 47 minutes in game five. He only mustarded up 12 points going 5 for 10 from the field in game six.
“It was attention to detail,” said Rondo. “Defensively it was all five guys we talked about it in a meeting everyone was focused on the little things. Coaches game plan was right on point.”
This was the longest season in league history. It began in October 2019 and ended in October 2020 some 356 days.