2020 NBA Finals | Lakers vs. Heat
24 thoughts on the Lakers' Finals-clinching Game 6 vs. Heat
ORLANDO, Fla. — One of the benefits of the Heat stretching The Finals to six games was the potential return of veteran point guard Goran Dragic, who went down with a left plantar fascia tear in Game 1.
The Heat battled their way to this point without him, so they were obviously capable of capturing Game 6 without Dragic. But in the event that he was ready to play, ready to give them anything at all, that had to be a positive, right?
Just having him active for Game 6 could have been enough to rattle the Lakers and perhaps inspire the Heat, who needed another four quarters of what they produced in their Game 5 win Friday night.
Dragic stayed locked in on this series, doing whatever he could to try and get back in the mix. How much of an impact he could have on the game was anyone’s guess. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave an optimistic assessment prior to Sunday’s Game 6.
“He’s still been incredibly involved,” he said of Dragic. “You just have to notice on the bench what kind of leader he is. He wants to be out there with his heart and soul, but his body will tell him whether he can do it or not. Either way, he’s going to make an impact.”
Toss in Frank Vogel’s starting lineup tweak (Alex Caruso in and Dwight Howard out), and there was more than enough drama riding on what could be the most intense game of this series, given all that was on the line.
The Dragic news (it’s news either way) swept through the grounds here before tipoff. But it would be foolish to bury the lead on what’s going on here tonight: This was a legacy moment for one man above all others.
24 — Not sure what the Caruso play does for the Lakers. Dwight Howard’s antics and ineffectiveness made it an easier decision for Vogel, I’m sure. How it takes a toll on Anthony Davis, who will match up with Heat All-Star big man Bam Adebayo, is worthy of a close eye early on. I reserve the right to reconsider this later on tonight, but on the surface I don’t like this idea.
Alex Caruso becomes the fourth different player Frank Vogel has used in that 5th starting spot this postseason: JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard, Markieff Morris the other three. LeBron, AD, KCP, Danny Green have started all 20 games in other four slots.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 11, 2020
23 — Duncan Robinson playing with some of that residual flame he had in Game 5. He’s drained a couple of big 3-pointers already. But the real show-stopper of the first quarter is easily LeBron. He makes it look effortless at 35.
Set the tone, King 👑 pic.twitter.com/wv5xIFbIHO
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 11, 2020
— NBA (@NBA) October 11, 2020
22 — This Heat team simply won’t go away regardless of the circumstance. The Lakers have forced five early turnovers and you’d think the Heat would be rattled. But no. They’re down 17-6 with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter with their youngsters (Robinson, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn) all making an impact. We don’t talk about the job Spoelstra has done with these guys but it’s truly an odd sight, seeing this from first- and second-year players.
21 — Dragic is in. Time to see if “The Dragon” will swing the momentum the Heat’s way …
Goran Dragic set to check in for the Heat with 1:09 to play. His first minutes since Game 1. #NBAFinals
— Sekou Smith (@SekouSmithNBA) October 12, 2020
— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 12, 2020
20 — This is going to be another part of this conversation tonight, for sure, depending on how Dragic fares …
I understand what’s at stake but I don’t like seeing Dragic out there. Hope you can stay healthy
— Matt Barnes (@Matt_Barnes22) October 12, 2020
19 — Lakers on a good roll to end the first. They’re playing with tons of energy and getting exactly what they need from LeBron and AD.
End 1: Lakers 28, Heat 20
LeBron James 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists; Anthony Davis 8 points, 3 rebounds, two fouls
54.5% FG, 12.5% 3s.
Duncan Robinson 6 points, four players each with 3 points.
Six turnovers for the Heat in the first quarter.
40% FG, 50% 3s.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) October 12, 2020
18 — LeBron putting together one of those nights right now with 11 points (5-for-6 from the floor), six rebounds and three assists. AD following his lead and Rajon Rondo with championship energy off the bench. Heat are in dangerous territory right now. Spoelstra needed a timeout to slow the Lakers down and let his guys regroup.
LeBron getting whatever he wants, Lakers shooting 60%, Heat shooting 35% and it's 35-23 with 10:00 left in the half.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 12, 2020
17 — LeBron is in freight train mode tonight, which is always my favorite mode to see him in. The fact that he can do this 17 years in should be noted and filed away for use later.
Hope all the casuals who cry, "Why doesn't LeBron just drive to the rim every single possession?" are watching tonight's game.
— J.E. Skeets (@jeskeets) October 12, 2020
16 — There’s a veteran point guard who changed the momentum tonight. It’s just not Dragic — it’s the Lakers’ unsung hero this entire series.
Playoff Rondo in da house. His drive gives Lakers a 42-27 lead in the second. Rondo has 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) October 12, 2020
Rondo is gangsta!
— Isiah Thomas (@IsiahThomas) October 12, 2020
15 — Lakers getting whatever they want on offense and smothering the Heat on the other end. This is championship effort from the men in the white jerseys. Bam looks particularly overwhelmed by the energy the Lakers are bringing. 51-32 with 4:01 to play before halftime. Just an absolute blitz by the Lakers right now.
Rajon Rondo spin-cycle! 🌪️
— NBA (@NBA) October 12, 2020
14 — Tank looks to be on empty right now for Miami. Lakers up 64-36 at the half. Time to pack up the bubble? It’s looking that way.
Heat looking like they really did leave it ALL on the floor in Game 5
— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) October 12, 2020
13 — It’s definitely time to pack up!
Getting real close to Duke Evers time: pic.twitter.com/y7z8csnxw9
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) October 12, 2020
12 — How quickly the narrative changes, from doomsday at the end of Game 5 to this at halftime of Game 6 …
— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) October 12, 2020
11 — Sitting here at halftime wondering what kind of verbiage we’re going to get from LeBron after this one. Whole lot going on in 2020. You know he’s going to have words for his doubters (real and imagined).
Considering he’s two quarters from his fourth NBA title, it’s a good time to remind you that we’re officially LeBron James days from Election Day. (Honorable mention to Donnie Baseball and that guard from UNC) #WholeNewGame #Election2020 pic.twitter.com/626r1scEA4
— Keith Allen (@CNNKeith) October 12, 2020
10 — This is a great point from an NBA OG: ”You know you did this to yourself, right?”
For those who don’t understand, The @heat earned this response from the @Lakers. The Heat responded knowing they could not lose in game 5 and the Lakers have responded this first half finally giving Heat the respect they wanted! Bammmm!
— Eddie A Johnson (@Jumpshot8) October 12, 2020
9 — Cold, but true. You learn from lessons like this in this league.
Tyler Herro tonight pic.twitter.com/XTnjcJvu8M
— Farmer Jones (@thefarmerjones) October 12, 2020
8 — The conversation shifts in this moment to what it means long-term for all involved, LeBron in particular. I respect Isiah’s opinion more than most. We can agree to disagree on things.
Let it be known! https://t.co/gj5VmEsOh9
— Isiah Thomas (@IsiahThomas) October 12, 2020
… and this has to register on the cool meter for the Hall of Famer, two-time champion and colleague:
If LeBron & the Lakers win it all tonight, they will celebrate by drinking @IsiahThomas champagne @Cheurlin1788. It will be the first time the Hall of Famer's award-winning champagne, currently chilling on ice at the arena, will be used by an NBA title team in their celebration. pic.twitter.com/1rNstqU0OM
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) October 12, 2020
7 — Classy stuff going on in L.A. as the Lakers put the finishing touches on this bubble experience and No. 17. You always hear about a city being a “[INSERT TEAM HERE] Town.” Not sure what folks in the Southland would say, but it’ll be a Lakers Town into the wee hours of this night.
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 12, 2020
6 — What’s gone on down here is nothing short of remarkable. From the planning, the buy-in from all sides to the execution and finish. Just remarkable to finish a season that seemed destined for something other than this on March 11, when the NBA stepped into the leadership void and did what had to be done.
Kudos to the NBA working so hard to give us a season and send a positive message. The bubble has been a real show of organizational competence.
— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) October 12, 2020
5 — I’m sure folks will spend the coming days and weeks debating the merits of his move, what it means to his legacy and all the other minutiae that follows his name in every conversation. But can we stop for one second and admit that no athlete in recent memory, and perhaps ever, has done what he’s done? We’re talking about a man 17 years into an already illustrious, all-time outlandish Hall of Fame career, taking his third organization to the title. It doesn’t mean he’s the G.O.A.T. or whatever you want to call it, but he’s carved out a place for himself in that stratosphere where few others in the history of this or any organized, high-level competition have gone before.
4 — A thorough and dominant showing in a Game 6 that had to be won. Game 7 would have a totally different atmosphere, even in this bubble!
The Lakers played like everyone thought they would. This was pure dominance tonite!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) October 12, 2020
3 — Lakers celebrating outlasting the competition, 2020 (and the devastating loss of Kobe Bryant), COVID-19, a nation caught in the grips of social unrest and every other obstacle thrown their way in what goes down as the longest season in NBA history. Title No. 17 and LeBron James cementing his spot in Lakers’ lore …
2 — A decade between titles for the Lakers. Wonder how long it will be until their next one? And what about that Miami team? Was theirs just a bubble experience for them, a one-off, or the start of something else?
1 — Does the end justify the means for LeBron, AD, the Lakers, etc. I say yes. In a business where there is a finite amount of time to reach the top, to attain the highest level, it’s hard to argue this finish. As LeBron said in the postgame celebration on the court here at AdventHealth Arena, they all just want their “damn respect.” That fourth title and fourth Finals MVP is a great place to start for LeBron.
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