By Sean Golonka
BU News Service
The Los Angeles Lakers are NBA champions after defeating the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the finals on Sunday.
Following a record-setting 260th playoff game, LeBron James won his fourth finals MVP and a championship with his third different NBA team.
“The best thing you can do for your teammates is be available, and for me to be available to my teammates that put in the work,” said James after he received his finals MVP trophy. “I just hope I make my guys proud. And that’s all that mattered to me.”
In the decisive Game 6, the Lakers outscored the Heat 36-16 in the second quarter, and in the second half, the Lakers’ lead never dipped below double digits. The Lakers were able to get it done by wreaking havoc on the defensive end, forcing 15 turnovers and holding the Heat to 44% shooting from the field.
“You became a defensive monster, we saw that tonight,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel to his team following the win.
The win also marked the first championship for many Lakers players, including All-Star Anthony Davis, who was traded to the team during the 2019 offseason. On the court after Game 6, Davis spoke about the meaning of winning a championship in honor of the late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
“Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do was do it for him, and we didn’t let him down,” said Davis.
The Lakers’ 17th NBA Championship also marked the culmination of the NBA’s efforts to finish their 2019-20 season safely by containing every team’s staff and players within a bubble in Orlando. Game 6 of the finals was the NBA’s 172nd game played in a span of months. At that time, the NBA had zero positive coronavirus tests within the bubble.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke about the success of the NBA bubble in terms of both player safety and social justice prior to the Lakers’ trophy presentation.
“This season restart was always about something bigger than basketball. It was about resilience and ingenuity, but it was also about racial equality and social justice,” Silver said. “Working together, teams and players, we found a way to play through a pandemic, keep everyone safe, and put a spotlight on these critically important issues.”
James also discussed the social justice efforts of the players around the league.
“You hear Golden State always use the phrase ‘strength in numbers,’ and that’s exactly what it was while we were here as the NBA, as the NBPA,” James said. “All our players, everybody had a voice in what’s going on in America.”
James finished with the message that NBA players must continue to push for social justice after leaving the NBA bubble.