Playing in his 260th playoff game and 55th NBA finals appearance; LeBron James scored his 11th finals triple-double, 28 points, 14 rebounds, and ten assists as he guided Los Angeles Lakers franchise to a record-equaling 17th NBA title and this ironically in his 17th season.
It was also LeBron’s fourth title with three franchises having won twice at Miami and at Cleveland Cavaliers with his latest sealed after a game six 106-93 victory over Miami Heats that completed a 4-2 series win.
LeBron who also rewrote history with his fourth finals most valuable player crown led from the front engineering play from both backcourt and on offense especially the transition that was effective in thwarting Miami Heats’ zone defense.
By half time, the Lakers had the second-largest ever lead at that stage of an NBA final of 28 points, 64-36.
A better third quarter saw them enter the final stanza ahead by 31 points, 87-58, and save for complacency in the fourth would have won by more than the 13 in a game they at one stage enjoyed a 36 point lead.
“It means a lot representing this franchise and I am glad I delivered as promised to put this franchise up where it belongs,” said LeBron who added that the best thing you can do for your teammates is being available.
LeBron also spoke fondly about the need for respect within the franchise and NBA circles but also spared a word for social change.
“We shall continue to push against everything that is the opposite of love and this will take strength in number as evidenced during our time in the Bubble (an improvised set-up to accommodate play post lockdown)”
Prior to this success, the Lakers had failed to play in six consecutive postseasons and had gone ten minus the title.
The dream was to level rivals Boston Celtics; a feat that’s been achieved in the words of coach Frank Vogel because of “having a team with a Ph.D. in adversity”.
On their night of history-making, 35-year-old LeBron James and Anthony Davis were ably supported by a ‘greedy’ cast led by the mercurial Rajon Rondo who scored 19 points.
In contrast, Miami Heats’ star performers Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Jim Crowder, Tyler Herro, and the returning Goran Dragic were nowhere near perfection save for late in the fourth quarter and this after Lakers had ‘switched off’.