The Miami Heat have been underdogs throughout this entire season. The narrative only changed for them after they eliminated Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Now in the 2020 NBA Finals, they're up against the heavily favored LA Lakers.
It is definitely a daunting task to come up against LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The talismanic duo will be looking to end the LA Lakers' decade-long championship drought. But the Miami Heat are no pushovers either and can overcome the Purple and Gold.
On that note, let us look at five reasons why Miami Heat can beat LA Lakers in the 2020 NBA Finals.
#1 Miami Heat's perimeter offense
Although they suffered a bit in this regard against Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat have several options that they can rely on to catch fire from downtown. Duncan Robinson in particular has shown the ability to drain multiple treys quickly and such a scoring run would definitely come in handy in the NBA Finals against LA Lakers.
They also have the likes of Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, and Jae Crowder who have shot the ball at a combined 36% from downtown from over 21 attempts per game. The LA Lakers' wings will certainly have to be on their toes against Miami Heat.
#2 LA Lakers' streaky backcourt
The LA Lakers have been led on both ends of the court by their frontcourt players. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have combined for over 55 points for the Purple and Gold in the postseason so far and will be looking to come good in the NBA Finals as well. However, the Miami Heat forwards are too tough to be dominated that easily. The likes of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo can lock up anyone on their day.
If that situation does come to pass, the LA Lakers could be in serious trouble. Their guards have only combined for 34.1 points, the second-worst tally amongst playoff teams. Danny Green's shooting woes are also well documented and the likes of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, and Rajon Rondo aren't volume scorers.
#3 Miami Heat have 4 players that can take over games in the NBA Finals
The Miami Heat really are a well-rounded unit. While Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are undeniably the main stars, they have other options who can take over a game in the NBA Finals whenever they want.
Tyler Herro is as clutch as it possibly gets and had that historic 37-point game against Boston Celtics. Goran Dragic leads the team in scoring in the postseason. Butler had that 40-point game against Milwaukee Bucks while Bam Adebayo willed Miami bast Boston in Game 6.
Even if these players take over in patches, that could be enough to take the Miami Heat over the LA Lakers, especially given how close the games are in NBA Finals.
#4 LA Lakers' wonky free-throw shooting
The Miami Heat and LA Lakers feature on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to free-throw shooting. While Miami have been the second-best team in the postseason in that regard, the Purple and Gold have been the fourth-worst with an accuracy of just 74.7%.
Scrappy free-throw shooting could really hurt the LA Lakers in NBA Finals where the games are generally more physical and lead to a lot of attempts from the charity stripe. It could even allow Miami Heat back into games which the Purple and Gold fail to close.
#5 The Andre Iguodala factor
The Miami Heat brought in Andre Iguodala for him to shine in the NBA Finals. They knew that his championship pedigree and experience against LeBron James will come in handy against the LA Lakers who were always amongst the favorites to reach this stage.
Yes, Iguodala is no longer the defensive behemoth he was in the 2015 NBA Finals against LeBron James. But he can help the Miami Heat devise a proper plan to contain the LA Lakers' leader.
Published 30 Sep 2020, 23:34 IST