A champion will finally be crowned for the 2019-20 NBA season after a global pandemic halted the NBA and the rest of the world for nearly five months back in March. The league took extreme measures to ensure that the remainder of the season could be completed safely, which involved creating a bubble-like environment to limit the exposure of COVID-19 among players, coaches and all those needed to make the rest of this season possible.
Now, after two months of regular season play and the earlier rounds of the postseason, the 2020 NBA Finals will take place between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. The Lakers were one of the early season favorites to be in the Finals, while the Heat became the surprise team of the bubble to best the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics in back-to-back rounds to earn their spot here. Now it all comes down to this.
Here's everything you need to know heading into Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Heat.
- Date: Wednesday, Sept. 30 | 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Disney Wide World of Sports -- Orlando, Florida
- TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) in select markets, including L.A.
- Odds: Lakers -4.5 | Over/Under: 217.5
Lakers: L.A. got through the Western Conference with relative ease, never letting a series go past five games in each of its three rounds. Anthony Davis has proven to be the player that the Lakers expected to get when they traded for him last offseason, as he's averaging a team-high 28.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from 3-point range. LeBron James has been turning out vintage performances left and right, and is this close to averaging a triple-double through the playoffs (26.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists). If there's an area where the Lakers should be concerned, it's Danny Green's shooting. Against the Nuggets, Green shot just 29.3 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range. If we look through the past few times he's been in the NBA Finals, though, the numbers show that he really comes alive on that stage (45.5 percent). L.A. will need that version of Green to show up once again, otherwise more will be asked of James and Davis to carry the load.
Heat: As far as I'm concerned, the pressure is all on the Lakers in this series, because no one expected Miami to make it this far. Give this team the credit they deserve, especially to the younger guys like Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, who have elevated their games to a higher level and shown that they can be the future of this franchise for years to come. Miami has the depth and defense to cause issues for the Lakers, however, it's going to be difficult to contain LeBron and Davis over the course of this series. The Heat went small toward the end of the Eastern Conference finals against the Celtics and it worked, however, that game plan may need to change against the height that the Lakers bring.
In two of the three series that the Lakers have played so far in the postseason, they've dropped Game 1 and proceeded to put their foot on the gas for the remainder of the series. I picked the Lakers to win in five games in our predictions post, and I'm holding to that, but I expect Miami to come out with a chip on its shoulder in Game 1 and make some noise. Pick: Heat +4.5