After a six-game series, the Miami Heat fell short to the Los Angeles Lakers and let them take the title as NBA champions for the 2019-20 season. The teams were forced to play in what was known as the NBA bubble after the season was resumed- a remote area in Orlando, Florida which was open to a limited number of players’ family members, but only a virtual crowd. This bubble setting impacted the players as only a few had their family with them and the others were separated from their loved ones for three months on end and didn't feel the normal energy from fans either.
To everyone's surprise, the underdogs from Miami emerged as the East Conference Finals champions after defeating the Boston Celtics with a final game score of 125-113. All of Florida was celebrating that night as it was the first time that the Heat made it to finals since 2014. The Lakers dominated the West with only one loss per series. Before facing off with the Heat, they beat the Denver Nuggets with a score in game 5 of 117-107, making them the West Conference Finals champions and 6 games later, NBA finals champions for the first time since 2010.
It wasn’t an easy path to finals for either team as they sustained injuries on both ends. Lakers' Anthony Davis had a minor heel contusion, while the Heat had more severe injuries including Bam Adebayo with a shoulder strain, Jimmy Butler with a rolled ankle, and Goran Dragić with a torn plantar fascia. Due to this, the Heat lost some of their starting lineup players. The Lakers, however, didn’t have their shooting guard, Avrey Bradley, because he didn’t want to compromise the health of his high-risk son and stayed home with family.
The Davis-James duo were in complete control with James drawing for fouls and Davis using his height to get offensive rebounds. Caldwell-Pope and Rondo also contributed offensively. Some of the star players for the Heat include Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and Duncan Robinson who went for threes, while Jimmy Butler moved towards the basket.
When Adam Silver presented the championship trophy, Lakers owner, Jeanie Buss, delivered a heartfelt speech, addressing the win, but also the personal losses it took to get there, which was in reference to Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s deaths from January of this year. Specifically, she shared, “...to Laker nation we have been through a heartbreaking tragedy...let this trophy serve as a reminder of when we come together, believe in each other, incredible things can happen.” With this remarkable win, Buss became the first female owner of an NBA team to win a championship. Silver later presented the Bill Russell finals MVP award to LeBron James.
While the Lakers were in their locker room popping champagne and celebrating their win, Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra, emotionally thanked everyone who helped keep the bubble a safe playing environment and aired his disappointment about how the season ended for his players, but congratulated the Lakers. Jimmy Butler admitted in his postgame interview, “I wish I could have done it for this city. I wish I could have done it for my teammates, for the organization...I didn’t do my job and I’ll be better.”
Laker nation paraded through the streets of LA (and specifically outside Staples Center) chanting and setting off fireworks to celebrate, and while it's unclear to say where specific players will end up for future seasons, it is certain that this isn’t the end of the Lakers and likewise, just the beginning for the Heat.