In view of the COVID 19 pandemic, the NBA season resuming again was still in jeopardy. Kudos to Adam Silver for coming up with the “bubble” and it still remains undefeated. The Lakers will square off with the heat in what promises to be an entertaining series with a ton of captivating storylines.
Nunn being out longer because of him contracting the virus, forced Miami to start Dragic ahead of Nunn and it has been a blessing in disguise. Dragic has been a revelation this post season averaging 20.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists a game while shooting 37% from deep on 6.8 attempts a game. KCP is the “point guard” on the Lakers and isn’t nearly the defensive hound bradley was but he does have his moments
Danny Green is trending these days even if he misses a shot, such is his reputation. But when you dive deeper he is still a positive on the defensive end for the Lakers and is more than capable of making shots when it counts. Robinson’s has never been afraid to let it fly and the Lakers need to be wary of that. Chances are Miami win, if he’s firing from all cylinders and even if he isn’t he cannot be left wide open. Miami’s offensive rating with with Robinson on is 116(#2 in the playoffs) compared to 113 when he’s off the floor.
But, Duncan is a liability on defense and for the basketball savant Lebron is he will definitely hunt Robinson. It would be interesting to see what Spoelstra comes up with to hide him on defense. Miami are a no 2 defense when Robinson is off the floor with a defensive rating of 105.4.
Advantage: Even, but Miami should be hoping to win this one.
Did you witness that 38 point triple double a couple of day back against the Nuggets? NO ONE, absolutely no one’s stopping that dialed in Lebron. James averaged 25/10/8 in the last regular season game played in December, but Miami have added 2 defensive veteran wings in Crowder and Iguodala along with Butler can bother him a bit, but all they can hope is to slow him down.
I expect Javale Mcgee/ Dwight Howard to be the starting center which obviously means Davis will start at the 4. Bam’s combination of agility and strength makes him one of the few players who can actually make Davis work for his shots though Crowder is the guy who generally starts at the 4 . In the 2 regular season games they matched up, Davis was held to 42% from the floor when guarded by Bam on 35 possessions. But the downside to putting Bam on Davis is the fact he will take Bam out of the paint, which just opens up drives for Lebron in the paint without their shot blocker. That might not be the recipe for success. This might be a reason why Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr might see an uptick in minutes.
Bam Adebayo might not have as much success against Howard as he did against the Celtics, but Miami need him to be aggressive fro the get go to tip the scales in their favour. Bam has also added a nice mid range game in these playoffs and is shooting 44%(14/32) on those shots. Despite it being a small sample size, I think this is sustainable.
Advantage: Miami. Dwight is not the defender he use to be in his prime, Bam wins this matchup.
No one outside of Herro and Iguodala were used in the series against the Celtics. Derrick Jones and Meyers Leonard might be back in the rotation. Caruso Rondo Morris,Kuzma are probably the only ones who will get minutes considering the fact AD and Lebron will play 40+ minutes every game. The bench depth does not matter as much, but its quite even.
Spoelstra has had Coach Vogel’s number every time they’ve squared off in the past. Of course, Eric will be going up against Lebron this time around and though Spoelstra is at the top of his game at this moment the disparity between both coaches won’t make up the difference in talent level between both teams.
Leadership, Camaraderie, lack of travel, players having to staying away from their families(though reunited now) have all played a factor in these playoffs. The bubble has been an unbelievable test of mental strength and the teams with the best and the most experienced leaders still stand. Iguodala who is going to play in his 6th straight finals, Pat Riley, Spoelstra have a lot of experince among them collectively, but the edge goes to the Lakers.
Keys to this matchup
Lebron and the Lakers made the Nuggets pay off of made baskets due to their poor tranistion defense, Miami are a much better team defensively but they have been sloppy in transition these playoffs giving up 1.17 PPP (3rd worst in the league) and they need to tighten it up if they are to stand a chance of beating the Lakers.
Miami’s opponents have been shooting 62% in the restricted area( 8th best at defending these in these playoffs) and this stat will dip even further when Bam is off the floor or out of the paint guarding Davis.
3 Point shooting
Though the difference in percentages between Miami(35.7%) and Lakers(35.5%) might not seem like a lot,Miami definitely have much better shooters than the lakers and they almost shoot 36% on 6 more attempts a game.
Lakers vs Heat Predcition:
No disrespect to what Eric Spoelstra and his Heat have done, beating the Lakers 4 times in 7 games might be a tall order and they will fall short.
Lakers in 6
*Featured image courtesy of HeatNation.com*