Job Finished! The Lakers Win the 2020 NBA Title, First Title Since 2010

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Illustration by Enrique Medina/EPM

The 2020 Lakers championship marks the third straight decade that the Lakers win a championship in the first year of that decade (2000, 2010, 2020) since the start of the new Millennium.

The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves on top of the basketball world once again, this time for the 17th time after they defeated the Miami Heat Sunday night 106-93 to officially win the 2020 NBA Title. Ten years after the late Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and the 2010 Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics to win the franchise’s 16th title, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and company led the charge to sweet number 17.

A Championship with Special Meaning Behind It

In an NBA season full of peaks and valleys, for the Lakers, it does not get better than this. A title dedicated to all of Los Angeles, a title dedicated to all of Laker nation around the world, a title dedicated to the organization, and of course a title dedicated to the late Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant who passed away in a tragic helicopter accident early this January. 

Going into Game 6, the Lakers found themselves under scrutiny and pressure after not getting the job done in Game 5 of the Finals. The Lakers let a potential closeout game in Game 5 slip right through their fingers. Comments and pressure came after a Laker team was not able to close out the Heat without their team at full strength, especially after a nightmare final possession to Game 5. Despite this, the Lakers knew Game 6 was a new opportunity to finish the job. 

Quick Start to Game 6

Game 6 would already change from the get-go with Laker guard Alex Caruso making his first career playoff and NBA Finals start. The Heat would also have a new face coming back into their team as veteran guard Gorin Dragic would make a return after a torn plantar fascia suffered in Game 1 of the Finals. 

Lakers Pull Away

Despite the return of Dragic and the momentum from Game 5, the Lakers were able to come running right off the bat. The Lakers would end the first quarter up 28-20. The second quarter is where the Lakers were truly able to put themselves ahead and keep the game out of reach. The Lakers ended the second outsourcing the Heat by 20 and going into halftime up 64-36. The Lakers were able to get a huge boost from veteran point guard Rajon Rondo throughout the game as the “Playoff Rondo” many are so accustomed to seeing came out again scoring a pivotal 19 points with huge plays in the first half that gave the team confidence at half time to put an exclamation point on the 2020 season.

The second half would be no different as the Laker lead would wind up going up as high as 36 points at one point in the third quarter. The Lakers would win by the final score of 106-93. In the victory, LeBron James would put up yet again another NBA Finals triple-double with 28 points, 10 assists, and 14 rebounds. Anthony Davis would also put up 19 points with 15 rebounds on the night to lead the charge. Other key contributors included Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who scored 17 on the night and Danny Green who scored 11 points. 

Individual Accomplishments from Title #17

The Laker team celebrating from the final seconds down, the famous “shirtless J.R” [J.R Smith] even made an appearance as the final seconds of the Lakers championship season came to an end. The Championship marked some amazing milestones for a team filled with veterans and young players alike. The title marked the first championship for veteran players Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and others. The win also made Rajon Rondo the first player in NBA history to win a championship for both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Lakers’ biggest rival, the Boston Celtics. Rondo had won his first title with Boston back in 2008. 

The win also secured LeBron James’ 4th NBA Championship, his first since he won his famous third title in 2016 for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. It also marked LeBron James (Heat, Cavaliers, Lakers) and Danny Greens’ (Spurs, Raptors, Lakers) third team that they have each won an NBA Title with. 

Jeanie Buss Becomes First Female NBA Owner to Win Title

After the game, the Lakers were presented with the Larry O’Brien trophy in pure enjoyment, the players joined by all the organization and staff midcourt.

“You’ve done Los Angeles proud with your hard work, your professionalism, and your dedication, and you have written your own and inspiring chapter in the great Laker history,” Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said after the game. 

With the championship, it also holds extra special meaning, with the unfortunate passing of Laker great Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant earlier this year.

“Let this trophy serve as a reminder that when we come together, believe in each other, incredible things can happen,” Buss said. 

Davis and LeBron Reflect, LeBron Wins Finals MVP

Anthony Davis when remembering Kobe also explained, “Ever since the tragedy all we’ve wanted to do was do it [win the championship] for him… I know he’s looking down proud of us, I know Vanessa [Bryant] is proud of us, the organizations proud of us, it means a lot to us.” 

An emotional Davis was able to celebrate his first NBA title. This after hard, long years of never making it past the second round with the New Orleans Pelicans.

For the fourth time in his career, LeBron James won the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP. With the Finals MVP, James becomes the first player in NBA history to win the award for three different organizations.

“We just want our respect,” said James after the game. “Rob [Pelinka] wants his respect, Coach [Frank] Vogel wants his respect, our organization wants their respect, Laker nation wanted their respect, and I want my damn respect too.”

Enrique Medina/EPM

The Lakers now 17th NBA Title ties them for the most all-time with the Boston Celtics. Even after a very difficult 2010s decade that saw the Lakers miss the playoffs six years in a row (2014-2019), easily the toughest decade in the Franchises history, and an even more difficult start to the 2020s decade with the passing of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant and the coronavirus pandemic affecting the NBA landscape, the Lakers defied all their critics and come away as the 2020 NBA Champions. A title well worth the wait.

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