October 28, 2020

The NBA Finals: A Whole New Game

The most exciting time in the NBA has arrived, the NBA Finals. Will LeBron win his 4th ring or will his previous team continue their Cinderella story and knock off The King? Jarael and Ryan give their thoughts and predictions on this exciting series. 

Lakers (1) v Heat (5)

Jarael: Here we are, the finals we all predicted before the bubble started. What an amazing run by the Heat, who I knew could beat the Bucks, but I sit here impressed with how they have been able to impose their will on each team they play. That is what good coaching looks like.

The Heat have been able to bother every team on the defensive end while showing us glimpses of off-ball action that we were only accustomed to seeing when we watched the Golden State Warriors. Clearly, Duncan and Herro are not high volume shooters like Klay and Steph but when you look at the Heat’s movement on the floor, it is similar.

The Heat are also attacking from each position on offense. Can we talk about how good Dragic has been? I thought his all-star selection a few years ago was one of the worst things I have seen in the NBA in a long time, but he is playing on an all-star level and with so much confidence.

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You don’t make it to the NBA finals in the bubble and not have a chance to win. There are no fans and there is no home court advantage — the Heat have a chance. I think their key to victory is on the defensive end. Will they continue to play zone on defense? If there is any coach who can challenge LeBron to be more passive and less aggressive, its Spoelstra. I like the Heat’s defensive intensity and their ability to put pressure on the defense at all levels. They will be successful if they continue to get deflections and outhustle the Lakers.

Now, I still feel the Lakers haven’t played up to their full potential. I would say Game 5 vs. the Rockets was the closest I have seen them to clicking on all cylinders. The Lakers will be successful if they can match the Heat’s intensity while also getting their shots when they want them. The Heat does a great job of influencing the offense of the other team. If the Lakers can work inside out and continue to hit their wings for open threes, I think they will make it difficult for the Heat.

I can’t believe we have LeBron in the finals in the west and it seems normal. Let’s be real for a second. If we get Finals LeBron that plays like a man among boys then this series will be too big of a moment for the Heat. I think LeBron comes out passive and trying to get Davis involved. He tends to do that early on in games but he has to know it starts with his intensity, so i hope we see LeBron come out and play like he is an underdog.

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I am really excited for this series. The Lakers need their third option to show up. Danny Green has been embarrassing to say the least, and the person who has been the most consistent as a third option has been Caldwell-Pope. The Lakers need production and energy from their bench. When it is all said and done, I think the moment is too big for this Heat team. They have a lot of confidence, and I know we don’t have fans but they know this is the finals. I think that puts more pressure on each player and how they perform. I am going with the Lakers (4-2), with LeBron winning another ring. I really hope I am right. I can’t take the LeBron slander going into 2021. We already know it is going to be a long year!

Ryan: This will be an interesting prediction for me, as I currently sit with an impressive 7-0 on my predictions in the West but an abysmal 4-3 with my predictions in the East. I owe my poor East record to the Miami Heat. This 5-seed is a true Cinderella story in the NBA, as only two times in NBA history has a seed lower than the 3 seed won a NBA Championship.

This Miami Heat is not in the Finals because they got lucky, either — they are in the Finals because they are currently dominating teams. They enter with an impressive 12-3 record in the Playoffs and are led by a tough defensive team and a well-balanced scoring attack. Five different players have led the team in scoring these Playoffs: Duncan Robinson (1 time), Tyler Herro (1 time), Bam Adebayo (3 times), Gorgan Dragic (6 times), and their Captain Jimmy Butler (5 times).

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This team seems to have several players playing extremely well, and they will need to continue that as they take on the The King’s Lakers. The Los Angeles Lakers also come into this series with an impressive 12-3 mark. We have witnessed LeBron, AD, and the rest completely destroy defenses and dominate the paint in their efforts.

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We know LeBron will show up and deliver a dominating performance, but the big question is will others? Will AD continue scoring in the paint and hitting fadeaway jumpers and potentially “steal” a Finals MVP from LeBron? Will “Playoff Rondo” become even better as “Finals Rondo” and light that spark when the Lakers need it? Or will my boy Horton-Tucker come off the bench and shoot four 3’s in 4 minutes to deliver a boost?

Okay, I am getting carried away now. But really, the Lakers to me are too talented for the Heat to be as successful as they have been over the last few weeks. While Bam vs. AD and Butler vs. LeBron will make it an exciting series, the Lakers are just too talented with The King at the helm. (Lakers 4-2)

Chaplin
Jarael
Jarael is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but currently resides in Ankeny, Iowa with his wife and their two animals, Bill and Nala. Jarael graduated from Buena Vista University and received his masters in Communication from University of Northern Iowa. Jarael continues to attempt to impress his third cousin Lebron James as he attempts to become a 4-time Men’s basketball champion in the Des Moines metro area. If you have seen the movie Coming to America or lived through the 90’s, Jarael’s Halloween costumes will bring you joy. He can be found on Twitter @ThePrinceAkeem tweeting logical ideas and assisting NBA athletes on how they can perform better on a nightly basis.

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