Ten years after the last coronation of Kobe bryant, the Lakers go back to the top of the NBA. Worn by LeBron James once again royal, they won their 17th title, tying the Boston record, after their victory in the final against Miami (93-106). LA, an easy winner in Game 6 on Sunday, won four wins to two. It is a very special title which is added to its formidable list of achievements, with the supreme pleasure of making a place for itself in the Pantheon alongside the Celtics, hated rivals.
Tribute to the idol Kobe
But pride is mingled with immense emotion. “Broken Lakers” on January 26 when idol Kobe was killed in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others, they are consoled Lakers, who, eight and a half months later, raised this Larry O’Brien trophy to the sky, where the star “Bryant” will have accompanied them during this season decidedly like no other. “We have experienced a heartbreaking tragedy with the loss of our beloved Kobe and Gianna. May this trophy remind us that when we come together, believe in each other, amazing things can happen,” said the owner Jeanie Buss.
This extra soul was useful to them to overcome a team of the Heat still admirable in courage, but which had no more gasoline in the engine, like Jimmy butler which will nevertheless have passed into another dimension in this final with performances worthy of those of a champion. But opposite, there was the one who remains at 35 years the best player in the world and who had promised to the “Lakers Nation” to bring him back the title, in order to “perpetuate the legacy” from Kobe.
In doing so, he too now has a place in the hearts of fans. LeBron James knew that his previous coronations under the Miami (2012, 2013) and Cleveland (2016) jerseys did not matter to them and that his vibrant tribute paid in tears to his glorious elder, five days after his death, would not be enough. So he kept his word on the floor. “This title means a lot. I told Jeanie when I came here that I wanted to put this franchise back in its place. We just want respect. Rob Pelinka (the Director General), Coach Frank Vogel, the club, the Laker Nation want respect and I want fucking respect too, “ he reacted.
LeBron James, best player of the final
Named best player of the NBA Finals, this is the 4th time in as many finals victories that LeBron James (35) is thus honored, after the titles won under the jerseys of Miami in 2012 and 2013 and Cleveland in 2016. Logically designated MVP of the final, the “King” still reigned over the meeting, evidenced by his triple-double (28 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists), the 28th of his career in the play-offs, two units from the record by Magic Johnson. He was not alone. Anthony davis dominated in the racket and was still a very dissuasive bulwark (19 pts, 15 rebounds, 2 blocks). Behind this explosive duo, the second knives were this time very sharp, like Rajon rondo, a real X factor with his 19 points (8/11) out of the bench, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (17 points).
So much so that for the Heat, for which it was the sixth final in fifteen years (three were won in 2006, 2012, 2013), the last step was a little too high. And this final defeat, quite severe, does not illustrate to what extent they were rivals for unwavering self-sacrifice in this final. Butler limited to 12 points (8 assists), Bam Adebayo was the most bleeding in attack (25 pts, 10 rebounds). It was he who allowed his team to get closer to the score in the last quarter.
End of a complicated season
As for Goran Dragic, who made an unexpected comeback, after three matches without playing because of a plantar aponeurosis, he logically lacked rhythm (5 pts), while the shooters Tyler herro (7 pts) and Duncan Robinson (10 pts) did not weigh. This does not detract from the beautiful course of Miami. But 2020 was the year of the Lakers. It started in tragedy, it ends in jubilation, at the end of a single season in the NBA, the longest in its history, the most chaotic too, after four and a half months of interruption due to the coronavirus and in a climate of fight against racial injustice at its peak this summer.
Yes, this title, deprived of fan fervor behind closed doors at Disney World, will be marked with an asterisk for the history books. But in the form of a Bryant star, and the Lakers therefore have many reasons to find him handsome.