The Lakers took the phrase “defense wins championships,” to a new level after limiting an explosive Miami Heat team to under 100 points in this closeout game. With a final score of 106-93, the Lakers win their first title since 2010.
Game six was all Lakers early on, with a 20 point lead in the first half, this seemed to take the life out of Miami. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel decided to add Alex Caruso to the starting lineup over Dwight Howard. The change prompted Anthony Davis to move to the Center position, and it yielded fruitful results.
Davis kept the Heat out of the paint and out rebounded Bam Adebayo.
Many of Miami’s players seemed physically exhausted, especially Jimmy Butler. Even though Goran Dragic returned to the lineup, they still found themselves down big at halftime.
Butler seemed to come back to Earth after an incredible performance in game three with a 40 point triple-double. In game four he played 44 out of 45 minutes in what was a sensational performance. He showed the world why his team made the Finals in the first place.
They lost, but shouldn’t feel disappointed with this outcome because they had an incredible run during their time in the bubble. They eliminated the No.1 seed in the East and they outlasted an incredibly talented Celtics team. Not only did they make the Finals, they were the only team to force the Lakers to a game six.
Although their squad wasn’t at full strength due to injuries, this team has a lot of talent they can build on next year.
For the Lakers, this win ties them for most championship wins of all time. This season became the longest in NBA history, and this may have been the most difficult title run yet for Lebron James. The bubble provides different challenges both mentally and physically, yet James managed to break records left and right.
James is now the first player in NBA history to win Finals MVP with three different teams. He and Danny Green have now won championships with three different franchises.
For Green, this was a nice bounce back game for him after missing the game winning shot in game 5. He finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds and a block.
James continues to add to his already prolific playoff resume each time he steps on the court. This series he put up incredible numbers and is second on the list for most playoff triple-doubles behind Magic Johnson.
This championship was the first for many on the Lakers squad. Anthony Davis speaks on how he always wanted to make it to this point in his career:
Veteran Rajon Rondo also won his second championship and he was sensational during his time in the bubble. Whenever he was on the floor with the bench players, he always had everyone in scoring positions because of his high basketball IQ. With his 104 assists, Rondo now holds the record for most assists off the bench.
This record stood since 1970/71, when the records began.
He also became the first player to win a championship with both the Celtics and Lakers.
Winning this championship meant even more for the Lakers organization because they dedicated it to NBA legend Kobe Bryant who tragically died in late January. General Manager Rob Pelinka spoke about how special this moment was:
The Lakers were the last team standing in the bubble and they look to make another title run next season.