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The NBA Finals is where legends are born. Jordan, Magic, Bird: those names ring true because of what they did when they got to this stage. You now have two players who are looking to etch their names into the history books forever.
On one side you have Jimmy Butler, a player who is on the fringe of being a superstar and playing in his first ever championship. On the other side is a player who needs no introduction, LeBron James, who is playing in his tenth Finals series and looking to take his fourth championship. Who wins?
Keys To The Series:
The Lakers are the oldest team in these playoffs and it hasn’t shown quite yet. That’s not to say against the young Miami Heat, that it won’t.
Miami likes to get out and run, as well as kill you with motion in the half court. Los Angeles will have to keep the shooters off kilter as well as stop transition opportunities on the other end. Players like Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, Alex Caruso, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are going to be asked to stick shooters and funnel them into the paint to the Lakers’ bigs.
On offense, the Lakers will have to be efficient and deliberate in their approach. Anthony Davis has become more and more confident shooting the baby hook and he will need that again Miami. James will also have to attack since Miami has only one big who can run and protect the rim in Bam Adebayo.
If the Lakers can get him out of the way early, this series becomes a battle of wings. The Heat have great wing depth but James is the ultimate swiss army knife, which gives the Lakers tremendous versatility on the perimeter.
This is the Finals, and Finals are won by stars. James will have to face a player in Butler who is way different than the youngster he faced in Chicago. Butler is bigger, stronger and more confident now and James will have to impose his will more than ever.
If James can do that, while being his normal self and facilitate the offense, this series becomes easier for him and his teammates.