Who’s ready for the NBA Finals? Well, you, the discerning Marquette men’s basketball fan that’s reading this internet website, had better be fired up, because there is not one, but TWO former MU stars in the Finals this year. Not only are there two former Golden Eagles in the Finals, but they’re both playing for the same team. That’s very convenient for us Marquette fans, because that means we can be one-sided total homers on this instead of saying “well, we just hope both teams have fun, because MU wins either way.”
Okay, so let’s dive in, shall we?
Seed: #5 in the Eastern Conference
Marquette Guys: Jimmy Butler & Jae Crowder
Miami got here by way of a first round 4-0 series win over Indiana followed by a 4-1 demolition of top seeded Milwaukee in the conference semifinals. When the 5 beats the 4, no one blinks. That’s even more the case when no one has home court advantage since all the games are in the bubble at Walt Disney World. But what the Heat did to the Bucks in the second round of the playoffs? A gentleman’s sweep of the best team in the league? And it generally speaking did not even look that close?
Well, that’s quite impressive, honestly.
That advanced them to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they picked up a 4-2 series victory over Boston. The Heat won Games 1 and 2 in fairly thrilling fashion to give them the early advantage in the series. In fact, the first three wins by the Heat in the series were all pretty thrilling victories, as Miami won by a total of just eight points. Boston won Game 3 and kind of ran through Miami in the second half of Game 5 to prolong the series, but the Heat came out ahead in the end to reach the Finals for the first time since 2014 and for the sixth time in franchise history.
I think it’s safe to say that Miami is not the favorite in the Finals, as they will be facing off against the Los Angeles Lakers, the top seed in the Western Conference and either the second or third best team in the league in the regular season. It’s hard to say for sure there since Toronto and LA did not play the same number of games in the regular season thanks to the shutdown and restart. ANYWAY, the Lakers went 52-19 in the regular season, finishing 3.5 games ahead of the second place Clippers in the Western Conference.
So far in the 2020 Playoffs, Los Angeles holds a record of 12-3, as they won each of their three series to this point with marks of 4-1 each time. Portland took Game 1 from the Lakers in the first round before LA ran them over the rest of the way. The same thing happened in the second round, as Houston won Game 1 before dropping four straight to the Lakers. That led LA to a Western Conference Finals against Denver, where they won the first two games before stumbling on a loss to the Nuggets.
The Lakers are led by a nice young man by the name of LeBron James. You may have heard of him. He averaged 25 points, eight rebounds, and an NBA high 10.2 assists in the regular season this year, and is going for 27/10/9 in the playoffs through 15 games. Interestingly enough, James is not the leading scorer for the Lakers. That honor goes to Anthony Davis, who averaged 26.1 points in the regular season and is getting 28.8 per game in the playoffs. Much like James, the 6’10” Davis is a double-double threat at all times, although his opportunities are going to be points and rebounds, while James can get LA 10 rebounds or 10 assists in a game.
Here’s the schedule for the Finals. Because the NBA likes being prepared for the Finals, every game is set and scheduled in stone already, it’s just a question of whether or not the series ends before we get to Games 5, 6, and 7.
2020 NBA Finals Schedule
|1||Wednesday, September 30||8:00 PM||ABC|
|2||Friday, October 2||8:00 PM||ABC|
|3||Sunday, October 4||6:30 PM||ABC|
|4||Tuesday, October 6||8:00 PM||ABC|
|5 (If Necessary)||Friday, October 9||8:00 PM||ABC|
|6 (If Necessary)||Sunday, October 11||6:30 PM||ABC|
|7 (If Necessary)||Tuesday, October 13||8:00 PM||ABC|