Los Angeles Lakers can’t afford to overlook the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports) /

Los Angeles Lakers can’t overlook the Miami Heat

The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat will meet for the first time in NBA history in the NBA Finals. These teams both had significant offseason acquisitions in Jimmy Butler and Anthony Davis which have propelled them to be the last two remaining teams in the NBA bubble.

LeBron James will be participating in his 10th NBA Finals, an incredible feat that no current player will match anytime soon. James, in his 17th NBA season, continues to astound fans with his sustained excellence.

The NBA playoffs have been full of surprising outcomes with the LA Clippers squandering a 3-1 series lead to the upstart Denver Nuggets and the Milwaukee Bucks losing in five games to the Heat. The Boston Celtics are definitely a team with a bright future, with Jayson Tatum blossoming into a superstar, who at only 22 years old averaged 25.7 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in 17 postseason games.

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The main reason the Celtics lost to the Heat in six games is that they didn’t have an answer for Bam Adebayo or Tyler Herro. These young former Kentucky players have given the Heat certain moxie and confidence that they can win any game.

The Lakers will face a similar challenge in guarding Bam Adebayo as they did when playing against Nikola Jokic. It can be argued that Adebayo is the second-best passing center behind Jokic. In 15 postseason games, Adebayo is averaging 18.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists on 57.1 percent shooting. With the exception of making 3-pointers, Adebayo can do everything on the floor and is a matchup nightmare because of his versatility and athleticism.

Tyler Herro has emerged as a fearless scorer capable of making big shots and creating for himself and his teammates. His 37-point Game 4 performance against the Celtics really showed his full arsenal of skills in a close 112-109 win.

Jimmy Butler is their two-way star that can affect the game without scoring and is not afraid to take and make the big shots. Butler came up big with clutch steals or getting to the free-throw line in close games to help the Heat advance to the NBA Finals.

The Heat may have the best depth in the NBA with a great mixture of veterans and young players giving them a myriad of players that can get 15-20 points in any game. The Heat can really go 10 deep with players like Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, Andre Iguodala, Derrick Jones Jr., Kendrick Nunn, Kelly Olynyk, and Duncan Robinson.

The Lakers may not have the talent across the board that the Heat have, but can still play a number of rotations around James and Davis. The Lakers’ rotational players are Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Anthony Davis, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, JaVale McGee, Markieff Morris, and Rajon Rondo.

Similar to how the Heat successfully slowed down Giannis Antetokounmpo, they will try to do the same against LeBron James. The difference is that James has a high basketball IQ and can pick apart any defense because he is the most versatile superstar in NBA history. James is the queen on the chessboard, a player that can make amazing passes, get to the rim with force, lock down the opposing team’s best perimeter player, and if he is making his jumper there is really nothing the defense can do to stop him.

Against the Nuggets, James effectively guarded Jamal Murray in the fourth quarter of Game 4 getting some key stops against the talented guard to help secure a 114-108 victory.

In 15 postseason games, James has averaged 26.7 points,10.3 rebound, and 8.9 assists. His superstar teammate, Anthony Davis is averaging 28.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. James and Davis have combined to form the best duo in the NBA because of their seamless fit with each other.

Davis is a talented post scorer with a sweet shooting touch that can make 3-pointers and get to the free-throw line with guard-like drives to the basket. Adebayo, a great defender will have a tough time slowing down Davis because of his length, skillset, and ability to stretch the floor.

The x-factor for the Lakers is Rajon Rondo, a veteran point guard that can still make unbelievable passes and get steals on the defensive end to get the Lakers easy transition baskets. The x-factor for the Heat is Goran Dragic, who is leading the Heat in postseason scoring, averaging 20.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. Dragic can create his own shot, make the 3-pointer and get to the basket giving the Heat a versatile scoring point guard that plays with the ultimate confidence in himself.

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The Miami Heat may be underdogs in the NBA Finals, but their postseason run has proven they fear no team. Game 1 tips off Wednesday at 9:00 PM ET.