After a heated battle with Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals, we must watch them go up against our most hated rivals. Putting recent animosity aside against the Heat and decades of championship history against the Lakers on the backburner, here are our predictions for this year’s NBA Finals.
Adam Spinella: Lakers in 6. LeBron James is still the best player on the planet, and Anthony Davis is the best type of defender to match with Bam Adebayo. Miami’s darling run throughout the postseason has said as much about the value of competitiveness and group effort as any NBA Finals team in recent memory. But it’s hard to pick against the veteran savvy of the Lakers with how they’re rolling right now.
Andrew Doxy: Heat in 6. Yes, this is my anti-Lakers bias coming out in full force and without shame. I really thought the Celtics would beat the Heat because Miami would run cold from the 3-point line. Well, the Heat did run cold, but they still found ways to win. Bam Adebayo is still young and will certainly have his hands full with Anthony Davis, but Miami’s defense is solid enough to defend against the Lakers’ offense. They have a litany of wing defenders to send LeBron James’ way. No one can stop LeBron, but they can at least make it a little difficult for him. If Jae Crowder regains his shooting touch and Duncan Robinson keeps scorching the 3-point line, they could take a couple of games early in the series. This is all without mentioning Jimmy Butler, who will surely be able to go back-and-forth in buckets with the Lakers’ tandem when Miami will need buckets in clutch time. This is a weird season with a weird postseason that’ll finish off with a weird result. Go Heat, I guess.
Daniel Lubofsky: Lakers in 7. LeBron James has his sights set on his 4th title while becoming the first player to ever lead 3 separate franchises to a title. He’s favored in the Finals for just the 3rd time in his 10 appearances. He’s as well rested as can be at this point in the season, having played more than 40 minutes just twice so far in these playoffs. Miami’s zone is going to be a tough nut to crack, but it’s just so difficult to bet against James with so much working in his favor when we’ve seen how hard he goes down swinging while trying to play upset.
Jeremy Stevens: 2020 has beaten me into the ground which is why I’m picking Lakers in 5, but I’m pleading to the Powers That Be that I’m proven wrong. I can’t see any outcome where LeBron James doesn’t steam roll this series. Every previous matchup had me thinking a team with depth would exploit the Lakers bench and it hasn’t happened. It hasn’t even come close to happening. The Lakers are outmanned in every matchup except the usual two and it doesn’t matter.
Simon Pollock: Lakers in 6. Checking Anthony Davis is a taller task than defending Daniel Theis and Jaylen Brown for the Heat’s Bam Adebayo. Lebron’s passing genius gives LA the edge against Miami’s variety of zones. And I think having a savvy distributor like Rajon Rondo, riding his excellent playoff performance, makes second unit matchups even tougher for the Heat.That said, I’d be lying if my mouth wasn’t watering a bit thinking about the plateful of gourmet narrative that is Lebron losing in the Finals to the Heat. What a dish.
Daniel Poarch: I’m taking Miami in 6, because I believe in the Heat’s ability to match up against this LA roster. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been torching teams all postseason long, but they haven’t faced a test quite like this. The Heat have a wealth of defensive-minded wings to throw at James, and Adebayo has been perhaps the only big in the league playing to Davis’ level on both ends of the floor in the playoffs. The coaching matchup is also uneven; Frank Vogel deserves credit for how he’s maximized the Lakers on the defensive end of the floor, but I’m not sure there’s a coach in the league operating on a higher level than Erik Spoelstra right now. Miami has been the best story of the postseason, and I think the adaptable, unshakeable Heat will cap off their remarkable bubble run with an NBA title.