LeBron looks to solidify his legacy in 2020 NBA finals against his former team

What will it take for Lakers and Heat to win the title in the COVID bubble?

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Photo courtesy of Yahoo! News

LeBron James looks to win his fourth NBA championship – his first with the Lakers- and strengthen his claim as the GOAT.

Eli Mayerson, Staff Writer

This year’s NBA postseason has been like no other before it. Not only is it taking place in a “bubble” on ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex in Walt Disney World, but numerous records have been broken, unprecedented series have taken place, and players have officially taken their first step into stardom.

Now, it is here. The biggest stage in one of the biggest sports in the world: the NBA Finals. And it is shaping up to be one that will be remembered forever.

One of the two teams fighting for the privilege to be called champion is no surprise: the Los Angeles Lakers.

Having emerged as the top seed in the Western Conference in the regular season, and being led by a superstar duo in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, one might say it would’ve been a failed season had they not reached the Finals.

The other team, however, is the antithesis of the Lakers. This other team is none other than the fifth seeded Miami Heat. While the Heat might not have one bonafide superstar, they are the epitome of team basketball.

Led by Jimmy Butler and the up-and-coming Bam Adebayo, the Heat are the Cinderella story of this year’s playoffs. They are the first team from the Eastern Conference to have reached the Finals after earning a fifth seed or lower since the New York Knicks did it in 1999.

We have several storylines here. The star-studded team with resurging veterans and the potential GOAT vs. the up-and-coming team led by the charismatic Butler. James vs. his former team and head coach, Erik Spoelstra. The extremely talented Davis vs. the younger yet still talented Adebayo. This is a series basketball fans dream about watching.

Let’s take a look at what each team needs to win the title before Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off tonight at 6 p.m. on ABC.

Los Angeles Lakers

In the minds of the public, the Lakers are the clear favorites going into the NBA Finals.

Their main goal should be to get their role-players going. The big surprise from the Lakers in the playoffs so far is their excellent veteran play. A pair of 34-year-olds, Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard, played big roles in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets. If they can continue to produce, the Lakers should be in good shape.

A third scorer has been the theme for the Lakers all postseason, and they have found one each game in the playoffs. Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, and Rondo have all taken their turns at being that third guy. If the role-players can continue to play their roles effectively, the Lakers will be unstoppable.

They should also look to capitalize on the Heat’s cold streaks. The Heat have blown more fourth-quarter leads than any other team this season, and these cold streaks cost them a game in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Miami Heat

The Miami Heat have been the underdog in every single series they have played thus far, but that hasn’t slowed them down yet.

The key to them winning is going to be their consistency. When the Heat are hot, they seem to be unstoppable. They have excellent three-point shooters in Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro, the latter of whom has had several breakout performances including a 37-point game against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

They have excellent leadership and defensive presences in Goran Dragic and Butler. Adebayo’s defense on Davis will also be a deciding factor.

The Heat have several wings they can throw at James to attempt to slow him down. Expect to see Butler, Jae Crowder and former Warrior Andre Igoudala all get some time guarding him. As for Davis, Adebayo will most likely take that assignment, with Crowder picking Davis up if the Heat decide to go small.

The Heat have the skills to win, but they just have to be consistent. As previously mentioned, the Heat are known for blowing big leads. Against the Lakers, every possession counts as though it is the last.

Prediction

While the Heat are very likeable, have great veteran leadership and excellent young talent, they are playing LeBron James, arguably the greatest player to ever step on a court. If he were to win his fourth championship this year, it could potentially end the debate for GOAT with James coming out on top.

The Lakers just have too much talent for the Heat to deal with, and James is not the type of player to pass up on an opportunity to solidify his legacy. For those reasons, the Lakers are coming out on top. The Los Angeles Lakers will win the 2020 NBA Finals 4-2, and LeBron James will win Finals MVP.