LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers simply wouldn’t be denied in the end.
The Larry O’Brien trophy is back in L.A. after the Lakers demolished the Miami Heat 106-93 in game six of the NBA Finals, completing a 4-2 series win.
After missing their first opportunity to close out the series in game five, the Lakers immediately made it clear there would be no Cinderella story for the Heat, outscoring them 64-36 in a decidedly one-sided first half.
That trend continued after half-time, as the Lakers’ stifling defence continued to make a mess of the Miami offence, even with the Heat narrowing what was once a 36-point lead back to 21.
It would prove to be too little, too late though, as James secured his first championship with the Lakers and his fourth NBA title overall, adding to championships in 2012 and 2013 with the Heat and 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Lakers’ latest title, the team’s 17th overall, came with the shadow of team and NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s death in January hanging over them.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died when the helicopter they were riding in crashed in California.
Throughout the blowout victory, Lakers fans in particular drew the comparisons between Bryant and James.hbkhkhb
Lebron doing this for Kobe.— DJ Akademiks (@Akademiks) October 12, 2020
This For Kobe Bryant!!!!!!! 💜💛💜💛💜💛— DJ LOONEY (@djlooneygoham) October 12, 2020
Commentator Mark Jackson paid tribute to Bryant’s wife Vanessa and his daughters Natali, Bianka and Capri.
“I want to take a moment to shoutout Vanessa Bryant and the Bryant girls.
“I’m thankful for your husband’s example, his leadership, his guidance.
“I just hope this puts a smile on their face, understanding the impact. Thank you.”
Lakers honour Kobe Bryant with NBA Finals win
The Lakers' victory tied them with the Boston Celtics for most championships in NBA history and capped an unprecedented season that resumed in July at a spectator-free campus at Disney World in Florida after a four-month hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak.
LeBron James was named Finals MVP shortly after winning his fourth title, following triumphs with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, and enjoyed a triple-double (28 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) in the final game of the season.
Anthony Davis added 19 points and 15 rebounds. He is a champion for the first time.
Davis owned the interior on both ends, the reason the Lakers outscored the Heat by a 34-16 first-half margin in the paint. Davis dedicated the victory to Kobe Bryant, the Lakers legend who died in a helicopter crash this year.
“We didn’t let him down,” Davis said.
“Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do is do it for him. ... It means a lot to us. It’s a tough moment. He was a big brother to all of us, and we did this for him.”
They combined for 20 of the Lakers’ 36 points in the frame, pushing the lead to as large as 30 just before the break.
Caldwell-Pope and Rondo made eight of their 10 shots in the quarter, and the game was over.
The series was over. The NBA’s bubble experiment was over. The 2019-20 season, after 355 days, was over.
With AAP/Yahoo Sports US/Ben Rohrbach
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