The NBA countdown has begun and we are already diving into the LeBron James / Michael Jordan topic. Let’s face it: it’s the main narrative at play in these particular NBA Finals. With a fourth championship, LeBron James will continue to add to his ridiculous list of achievements as he continues his quest to rival or perhaps surpass Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player in history.
Jordan, of course, has six leagues to match six Finals MVP awards, and there will be plenty that won’t even compare the two until James at least ties him to the number of rings. Here’s the thing: James, despite being 35, is still one of the best players in the league and it’s possible that with Anthony Davis he has found his ideal partner. Yes, James will start to decline, not even he will be able to defeat Father Time, but Davis may very well be on the verge of being the best player in the entire league. It is not impossible that this season is just the beginning of the next phase of his career.
The NBA is back on television in China for the first time in what feels like decades. You’re forgiven if you find it hard to remember after everything that happened next, but the NBA and China got a huge riff after Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted in support of Hong Kong anti-government protesters. Well, they apparently decided to settle their differences just in time for what could very well be the final match of the 2019-20 season. Well, better late than never?
I thought Davis was the MVP in the lead until his poor performance in Game 3. Honestly, I think this is one of those cases where anyone with the most impressive performance in the final match will win.
One of the reasons Miami won Game 3 is that they took advantage of a surprisingly sloppy Lakers squad who arrived as if they mentally expected to blow the heat away. The Lakers’ huge number of turnovers in that game is second only to Butler’s performance in Game 3 on the list of reasons there is still basketball going on right now.
Don’t expect them to mentally take this game for granted. They are entering this game with the mindset that they are about to shut things down. Their decision to wear the Black Mamba tribute jerseys in honor of the late Lakers great Kobe Bryant should be proof enough of that.
This is where I once again reiterate the fact that I feel this series is over. I will gladly take the L here, but it looks like Miami’s last chance to change this series was in Game 4. I feel like the Lakers are taking the lead relatively soon and by the third quarter it will be so out of control that we’re already about to pass our time talking about where this win would fit in Lakers history and starting with the LeBron James versus Michael Jordan argument.
Agree? Disagreement? Do you think Jimmy Butler has yet another Big Game in him, despite the fact that the Lakers’ decision to let Anthony Davis protect him in Game 4 may have been the turning point of the entire series? Again, send us your predictions via email (to email@example.com) or Twitter (to @HunterFelt).
Could Dragic’s foot injury in the first game of the finals be considered the turning point of this series? ESPN’s Zach Lowe said his absence essentially put the Heat in an impossible situation:
The heat gave up a lot to save him. The earnings rose and fell until this post-season, when Dragic played some of the best basketball of his life.
You felt his absence for the duration of Match 4. With Butler-Adebayo’s focus thwarted, Miami sought offense – mostly leaning on Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro throwing the picks. The Lakers were ready.
There has been some talk about point guard Goran Dragic trying to find a way to play in Game 4, despite his torn plantar fascia. It didn’t happen. Maybe if Miami had ended the series on Tuesday we would probably have heard more, but with the chances of Miami dwindling, it seemed highly unlikely that anything would change regarding the availability of Dragic’s Game 5. In fact, it’s listed as out next to PG Gabe Vincent.
Meanwhile, everyone is available for the Lakers.
Welcome to what could be the end of the longest and most surreal NBA season ever. While those of us who don’t have a radical interest in these finals are probably hoping that the Miami Heat can find a way to extend the season with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5, we’d have to admit it’s something of a small miracle that we you’ve reached the point. Despite the overwhelming odds against them, the league has found a way to restart the season, after a long hiatus, without exposing its employees to a Covid-19 epidemic. The Bubble, despite the legitimate fears many of us had before the season resumed at Walt Disney World, hasn’t broken out.
Furthermore, we are not too hasty in proclaiming that today will be the terminus. The last time we started writing premature obituaries of the season, when the Heat were down 2-0 and missing two of their most important players due to injuries, Jimmy Butler responded with a game of the finals for the ages, a triple double by 40 points that kept Miami’s hopes alive.
Unfortunately, Bam Adebayo’s return to Game 4 wasn’t enough for the Heat to beat the Lakers for the second straight game. So, the Lakers are now leading the 3-1 series and just need one more win to secure their 17th franchiseth championship and if they don’t win today, they will have two more chances. In other words, the odds aren’t great for the heat.
No matter what happens over the next few hours, however, much credit should be given to Heat. They started the postseason as fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and proceeded to sweep the Indiana Pacers in the first round. Then they easily handled the Milwaukee Bucks, the team with the best regular season record in the league, in the second and beat a talented Boston Celtics team in the Eastern Conference Finals. They’ve been challenging the odds all post-season. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if they delay the Lakers’ coronation for at least one more game.
However, there is a very good chance this will be our last NBA liveblog of the year (Commissioner Adam Silver has suggested that it is highly likely that we will not see another season until next year). This means that if you are planning to contribute, this may be your last chance. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or direct your Tweets to @HunterFelt. It’s game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat here in the Walt Disney World bubble. The game will start at 9:00 PM EST, but we will have continuous updates before then.