Looking Back at the NBA Finals


Article by Kian Takizawa

Reading Time: 3 minutes

One month ago, the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat began a series to decide the victor of the 2019-2020 NBA season. In this series, we saw superstars such as Lebron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers match up against underdogs like Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler from the Heat. Since late July, these two teams had battled it out in The Bubble:  the NBA’s successful quarantine strategy to keep the athletes safely isolated during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Miami Heat had entered the playoffs as the fifth seed this year with a 44-29 record. They were underdogs throughout and amazed NBA fans with their play. Many compared Miami to the 2004 Detroit Pistons, pointing out that the team doesn’t have one particular superstar, but is built to function perfectly as a unit. 

The Heat are made up of mostly perimeter shooters with players such as Duncan Robertson, and defensive forwards such as Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk. This team was also one of the youngest to ever play in the finals, with stars such as 20 year-old Tyler Herro and 23 year-old Adebayo. 

Adebayo, drafted in 2017 out of Kentucky, was in his third NBA season and already an all-star. He is known as a versatile forward that can play both ends and can guard all five positions. His most notable defensive accomplishments were defending the league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and guarding 22 year-old phenom Jayson Tatum in the Eastern Conference finals. Heat rookie Herro also played for The University of Kentucky. The 20 year-old had the biggest game of his career, scoring 37 points against the Celtics, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Jimmy Butler was another threat on the Heat’s roster this year. The past two years have been a struggle for Butler, after leaving Minnesota due to chemistry issues, and leaving Philadelphia after the team was eliminated by Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors. 

Coming into this season, many fans were underestimating Butler’s capability, but being an underdog is not new to him. Butler grew up homeless and made his way through the love of basketball. Nine years since his debut, Butler had found his groove with this Heat team, proving his doubters wrong. 

As for the Los Angeles Lakers, their journey with their two superstars Lebron James and Anthony Davis was nothing short of dominant. 

James, one of the top players of all-time, showed greatness even in his 17th year, torching the playoffs with his magnificent performances. He was out last season with an injury and missed the playoffs, but this year was back to his usual routine of making the NBA finals, this being his tenth time. To add to the drama, James was facing the Miami Heat, where he spent four years of his career, winning the franchise two championships. 

Anthony Davis, who was traded for a bevy of young players, filled a major hole in the Lakers roster. Though a superstar for almost all his career, he had never made it to the finals. Davis was excellent throughout the playoffs, shooting extremely efficiently, and proving to be the backbone of this Lakers team. 

This season had a special value to both teams, but perhaps especially to the Lakers. Earlier this year, their legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter accident along with his daughter Gianna. Bryant had devoted his whole career to the Lakers, winning five championships for the franchise in 20 years. Many idolized Bryant, and some say Kobe passed the torch to James. For James, who was a close friend of Bryant, winning this championship was everything for him, his family, and his fans. 

Although both teams hoped to be the first to win in this new decade, the Lakers ended up claiming the championship trophy, giving James his fourth championship and also his fourth MVP award. The Lakers now have 17 championships, tied with the Boston Celtics at the top.

The 2019-2020 NBA season will definitely be one to remember because of the global pandemic, but next year’s season should be just as interesting.