The Los Angeles Lakers are just getting started
Throughout the Los Angeles Lakers’ illustrious history, legendary players have worn the purple and gold leading the franchise to 17 NBA Titles, tying them with the Boston Celtics. The latest great duo to do it is LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Davis really showed what an amazing two-way player he is, whether it was defending Jimmy Butler, blocking shots at the rim, or scoring from all over the floor. James has never have played with a teammate who complements his game so well.
This Lakers’ duo pretty much dominated the playoffs as they proved to be the best team and brought Laker Nation that much needed NBA title. This Lakers team was on a mission and the focus and intensity on the defensive end were evident throughout the postseason.
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LeBron James averaged 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.8 assists on 56 percent shooting in 21 playoff games. Anthony Davis averaged 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on 57.1 percent shooting during the postseason. The versatility of this duo offensively and defensively is what makes them so dominant and has Laker Nation dreaming of more NBA titles in the future.
Davis showed he can protect the rim, guard on the perimeter, and dominate on both ends. James showed he can defend the other team’s best perimeter player and get defensive stops which lead to their unstoppable fastbreak game. During the playoffs, the Lakers allowed 105.9 points per game and scored 112.8 points per game. Defense wins championships and led by Anthony Davis’ defensive masterclass, the Lakers suffocated their opponents to win consistently.
There were questions about the supporting cast, but players stepped up when they needed to. Rajon Rondo played amazing after his return from a broken thumb. Rondo gave the Lakers a second ball-handler and a pesky defensive guard that could change the tenor of the game with his competitiveness and leadership.
Both Rondo and James see the game at an elite level in terms of their passing ability and would lead the team when breaking down game film. Rondo was a key player to their championship run and deserves praise for being able to impact the game without scoring a lot of points and making winning plays. His stellar postseason was capped off with 19 points and four assists in the Game 6 title-clinching game. Rondo also had 16 points and 10 assists in the Game 2 win against the Heat.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also deserves credit for his consistent play averaging 10.7 points during the playoffs and 12.8 points during the NBA Finals. Kyle Kuzma is a talented scorer but struggled with consistency during the season when his role wasn’t always clear. Kuzma averaged 18.7 points during the 2018-19 season and 12.8 points during the 2019-20 season.
During the playoffs, Kuzma averaged 10 points and has clearly seen his role diminish with James and Davis combining for almost 60 points per game leaving him with fewer shots in the offense. The Lakers still need a few tweaks to their roster, so it’ll be interesting to see how the offseason plays out.
The Miami Heat also deserves a tremendous amount of respect for their amazing season dominating the Eastern Conference playoffs much like the Lakers did in the Western Conference. Their clutch play was amazing down the stretch of close games lead by Jimmy Butler who has the ability to get to the line at will and get steals to impact both ends of the court.
Throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs the Heat only lost three games and their ball movement-oriented offense was difficult for great defensive teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers to handle. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson showed no fear on the biggest of stages and will improve going into the next season.
The loss of Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo during the NBA Finals hurt their chances of pulling off the upset, but any team was going to find it difficult to beat the Lakers four times, fully healthy or otherwise.
The matchups most fans wanted to see in the Lakers vs. Clippers and Bucks vs. Clippers/Lakers didn’t materialize, but this just proves that the most mentally tough teams were able to survive the bubble life and advance in the playoffs. The Clippers were missing leadership and heart while the Bucks were never able to regain their pre hiatus form in the bubble.
The impact that Kyle Lowry had on the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA title team cannot be understated as their emotional leader and second-best player behind Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers never had that cohesive unit whether because of load management or a lack of a vocal leader and were exposed in the playoffs against a hungry Denver Nuggets team that also gave the champion Lakers a competitive five-game series.
LeBron James once again proved he is the best player in the game and Anthony Davis showed why is the best big man in the game with his dominant two-way play. Expect this duo to continue to have the Lakers in championship contention for years to come. What an amazing season it has been and congratulations to the Lakers for their championship season. Kobe Bryant is watching down on the basketball world and was no doubt a key motivating factor in the Lakers’ 17th NBA title.