This year’s road to the finals for the Los Angeles Lakers is something to document. from countless roadblocks, heartbreak, and seemingly unbeatable team in their way they still bonded together and pulled it out for Lakers nation.
The year started well for the Lakers as they were able to pull off a trade for one of the most talented big men in the league. Anthony Davis. Although it came at the expense of one of if not the most promising young core in the league that included 2020 all-star Brandon Ingram, Former number 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart.
Davis has proved to be worth every penny. He boasted impressive offensive numbers all year long averaging 26 points on 50 percent shooting. Many Believe that Davis perfectly co-sided with Lebron James as James led the league in assists this year for the first time in his career.
Lakers experienced a tremendous loss when disaster struck on January 26th. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant died in a helicopter crash
Gabe Hammer, a long time Kobe Bryant fan, gave his reaction to his death.
“big sad, Kobe was like my idol, I was at church and I got a phone call from my friend and he told me and I was just in shock and couldn’t focus on anything else.” said Hammer.
Like Hammer, many Lakers players and fans felt the same way.
The Lakers however looked at Kobe’s death as motivation. Up to March 11th, the Lakers had the best record in a great western conference, James was looking young again and Davis was looking like the best two way player in the game.
It seemed the NBA couldn’t catch a break as Jazz center Rudy Gobert got diagnosed with the corona-virus. This sent the NBA into full panic mode. Many didn’t think we would get to see the NBA season finish out.
But the NBA set up a “bubble” that could house all the players. In this bubble, players couldn’t have any family or friends come to visit or watch their game. James said the bubble was one of the hardest things he has had to deal with in his career.
“It’s probably been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done as far as a professional, as far as committing to something and actually making it through. But I knew when I was coming what we were coming here for. I would be lying if I sat up here and knew that everything inside the bubble, the toll that it would take on your mind and your body and everything else, because it’s been extremely tough. But I’m here for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to compete for a championship.” stated James.
The Lakers however showed no signs of slowing down even with the presence of the bubble as the steamrolled through the playoffs. In round one they had to play Damian Lillard and the Trailblazer. Many experts such as Paul Pierce, touted this team as the “greatest” 8th seed of all time and thought the Lakers would struggle. The Lakers handled the trailblazers easily in 5 games.
In the next series, James Harden and Russell Westbrook’s Houston Rockets proved to be no match for the lakes as they quickly got sent home in 5 games.
Now the western conference finals come around. The Lakers have to play one of the biggest surprise teams in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets. This Nuggets team led by up-and-coming stars Nikola Jokic, that had just become the first team in NBA history to come back from two straight 3 to 1 deficits.
The Lakers struggled a bit but eventually pulled out the series in five, with the highlight of the series being Davis’s game-winning 3 in game 2.
Finally, the Lakers are back in the finals. After a 5-year playoff drought, they get the chance to get the Larry O’Brien trophy once again. All they have to do is beat Jimmy Butler and the heat.
The Lakers knew they were gonna be in for a dog fight as the heat is one of the scrappiest teams in basketball. The Lakers came out swinging in game one, two, and four dominated the heat.
Despite being down 3 to 1 Jimmy Butler wasn’t ready to give up just yet and dropped a 40 point triple-double in game 5 to force a game 6. James however in game six had the plans for the Lakers as he dropped 28 points, 10 assist, and 14 rebounds in a 13 point win to secure the title.
The edition of Anthony Davis, to the Heartbreak of Kobe, and the weirdness of the NBA bubble James and the Lakers fought through it all to get the title. After its all said and done LA is once again a city of champions.