Through five games of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat gave the Los Angeles Lakers all they could handle.
In Sunday’s Game 6, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers were simply too much.
James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as LA closed out Miami with a 106-93 victory, ending the Heat’s magical playoff run.
It delivers the Lakers' 17th title, matching the Boston Celtics for the most all-time. And this one comes as the Lakers this season honored Kobe Bryant, who died in a January helicopter accident.
It’s James' fourth championship, including two with Miami and another with Cleveland, and he was named Finals MVP for the fourth time.
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) celebrates with his teammates after the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
“It means a lot to represent this franchise,” James said in his on-court postgame interview. “I told [Lakers owner] Jeanie [Buss] when I got here that I was going to bring this franchise back to the condition where it belongs."
Playing without point guard Goran Dragic since Game 1 of the Finals — until he returned Sunday — and also losing All-Star Bam Adebayo for two games, Miami ultimately couldn’t match the Lakers' star power of James and Davis.
“The Lakers were better,” Dragic said. “We fought. Unfortunately, we didn’t have it today, but we have to move on.”
Dragic: "They told me when I snapped the fascia, I basically did my own surgery." Says it will just heal with time. "The one thing I didn't have was time."— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) October 12, 2020
The Heat’s run to the Finals was memorable and unexpected, and after they got there, they battled their way to Game 6 with Jimmy Butler triple-doubling in both Miami wins.
Adebayo led the Heat on Sunday with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Butler finished with 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
“You’ve got a group that’s a lot like me,” Butler said. “The fan base is incredible. ... I wish I could have done it for the city. ...
“I told them I was gonna win them one. I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain, so I’ve got to do that next year.”
Sunday’s outcome was never really in doubt. The Lakers built a 64-36 halftime lead after a dominant start and never looked back.
The 35-year-old James turned in his 11th triple-double in an NBA Finals game. He has 28 postseason triple-doubles, second only to Magic Johnson’s 30.
Davis added 19 points and 15 rebounds in the clincher, and Rajon Rondo scored 19 off the bench.
Davis spoke of the motivation of playing for Bryant.
“Ever since the tragedy all we wanted to do is endure for him, and we didn’t let him down,” he said. “I know he’s looking down on us, proud of us. ... He was a big brother to all of us.”
The game ends an unprecedented postseason played in the Disney bubble, where the Heat have spent the past three months and will finally get to drive home from Orlando.
“We didn’t get the final result that we wanted,” a tearful Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But, even what I mentioned to the guys, these are going to be lifetime memories that we have together. This locker room, regardless of whatever happens in the future, we’re going to remember this year, this season, this experience and that locker room brotherhood for the rest of our lives.”
First time I remember seeing Spoelstra cry. Says this team will remember the brotherhood of the locker room for the rest of their lives. pic.twitter.com/byE857Jg63— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) October 12, 2020
Spoelstra on his emotions tonight: "I'm not even like this...I'm sure my wife is watching wondering who the heck this is right now."— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) October 12, 2020