Ten years after the last coronation of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers go back to the top of the NBA: carried by LeBron James once again royal, they won their 17th title, tying the Boston record, after their victory in the final at the expense of the Miami Heat .
LA, an easy winner (106-93) of Game 6 Sunday at Disney World in Florida, won four wins to two. In this N.6 match, the Lakers, more aggressive than ever in defense and skilful offensively, quickly folded the case, with up to 30 points in the first period and 38 in the second.
But pride is mingled with immense emotion. Broken on January 26 when idol Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others, the Lakers lift this Larry O’Brien trophy eight and a half months later to the sky .
“When we come together, amazing things can happen”
“We have experienced a heartbreaking tragedy with the loss of our beloved Kobe and Gianna. May this trophy remind us that when we come together, believe in each other, amazing things can happen, ”said owner Jeanie Buss.
This extra soul was useful to them to overcome a Heat team still admirable in courage, but which had no more gasoline in the engine, like Jimmy Butler who will nevertheless have passed into a another dimension in this final with performances worthy of those of a champion.
But opposite there was the one who remains at 35 years the best player in the world and who had promised to the “Lakers Nation” to bring back the title to him, in order to “perpetuate the legacy” of Kobe. Lebron James now also has a place in the hearts of fans. He knew that his previous coronations under the Miami (2012, 2013) and Cleveland (2016) jerseys did not matter to them and that his vibrant tribute paid in tears to his glorious elder, five days after his death, would not be enough. So he kept his word on the floor.
“The greatest player the universe has ever seen”
“This title means a lot. I had told Jeanie when I came here that I wanted to put this franchise back in its place. We just want respect. Rob Pelinka (general manager), coach Frank Vogel, the club, the Laker Nation want respect and I also want fucking respect, ”he responded.
Logically designated MVP of the final, the “King” still reigned over the meeting, evidenced by his triple-double (28 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists), the 28th of his career in the play-offs, two units from the record by Magic Johnson.
“He’s the greatest player the universe has ever seen,” coach Frank Vogel said after the title. “I’ve always believed in LeBron. If you think you know certain things, then you don’t know. When you meet him every day, you really realize what his state of mind is, we see the adjustments he makes, the way he leads the group, ”he added, admiringly.
LeBron James was well supported by Anthony Davis who dominated in the racket and was still a very dissuasive bulwark (19 pts, 15 rebounds, 2 blocks).
2020 year of the Lakers
Behind this explosive duo, the second knives were this time very sharp, like Rajon Rondo, a real X factor with his 19 points (8/11) off the bench, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (17 points).
So much so that for the Heat, for which it was the sixth final in fifteen years (three were won in 2006, 2012, 2013), the last step was a little too high. And this final defeat, quite severe, does not illustrate to what extent they were rivals for unwavering self-sacrifice in this final.
Butler limited to 12 points (8 assists), Bam Adebayo was the most bloody in attack (25 pts, 10 rebounds). It was he who allowed his team to get closer to the score in the last quarter.
As for Goran Dragic, who made an unexpected return, after three matches without playing because of a plantar aponeurosis, he logically lacked rhythm (5 pts), while shooters Tyler Herro (7 pts) and Duncan Robinson ( 10 pts) did not weigh.
This does not detract from the beautiful course of Miami. But 2020 was the year of the Lakers. It started in tragedy, it ends in jubilation, at the end of a unique season in the NBA, the longest in its history, the most chaotic too, after four and a half months of interruption due to the coronavirus and in a climate of fight against racial injustice at its peak this summer.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr