NBA Finals Preview

NBA+Finals+Preview

Alex Gwyn, Writer

In a particularly unique season, the road to the finals for 2 NBA teams was more than just playing better basketball. With the NBA at the forefront during early coronavirus scares, the season was immediately put on a hiatus and many thought that we wouldn’t see our favorite players back on the court until 2021.This was until Commissioner, Adam Silver, created a “bubble” inside Walt Disney World’s “isolation zone” created specifically for the season to continue. Disney’s “bubble” requires every player and staff member to be tested for covid-19 every single day. All people on site are not able to exit and depending on if their team makes it to the finals, they would have been inside for up to 3 months straight. Silver’s plan nearly worked to perfection as no outbreaks occurred within it unlike other sports like the MLB and NFL. With only a limited amount of regular season games left before the playoffs, all teams already eliminated from playoff contention were not allowed in the “bubble”. Teams battled for their spots in the playoffs with only 16 of the 22 teams making the cut. After 3 rounds of playoff basketball, the two remaining contenders stand in the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 2018-2019 NBA season snapped a 9-year streak of making the NBA finals for living legend and widely thought of as the greatest basketball player of all time, LeBron James. He found his way back this year, silencing any of the doubters he had. In year 17 for “The King”, he teamed up with fellow superstar, Anthony Davis, in an attempt to make his tenth finals appearance. With an emotional Lakers team following the death of the late great, Kobe Bryant, this means so much more to the team than ever before. After clearing out other Western Conference contenders: Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets all in 5 games, the Lakers aim for their 17th championship as an organization. This is not LeBron’s first rodeo and the Lakers are the clear favorite to win the series and take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

On the other side in the East, the fifth seed Miami Heat were a consensus underdog coming into this year’s playoffs. Led by new acquisition this past offseason, Jimmy Butler, the Heat prepare to give the Lakers their toughest task yet. With a truly outstanding young core and a group of savvy veterans helping lead the way, Miami is a force to be reckoned with. The underdogs began their championship run by sweeping the fourth seed Indiana Pacers in the first round. In the second round, they were tasked with facing the number 1 seeded Bucks, led by 2-time reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo. This was no problem for Miami as they put them away in 5 games. Their final test remained in the third seeded, Boston Celtics. After a hard fought 6 games, the Heat stopped the Celtics young superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown from making their first trip to the finals. The Miami Heat (LeBron’s former team), plan to halt LeBron’s road to greatness and create their own destiny.

After having thoughts of maybe not seeing NBA basketball until next year, it is truly incredible how all of this was able to get done in such a short amount of time. Everyone wanted basketball to be back, the question came down to “how?”. Now that the finals matchup is set, all that is left is for the two teams is to play some basketball! As of right now, the Lakers have a 1-0 lead over the Heat after a dominant performance winning 116-98. Miami will look to bounce back on October 2nd in game 2.