Series Preview: Heat vs. Lakers (NBA Finals)

Audio/Story posted September 29, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Austin Groft

Host Dale Ostrander and analysts Sam Kirk and Matt McLaughlin recap the conference finals and look ahead at the NBA Finals matchup between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The NBA Finals are finally here. Capping off what has already been a wild season is this matchup, which is sure to treat fans. The Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James will face James’ former team, the Miami Heat, with which he received his first two NBA championships.

Last year featured the first NBA Finals in eight years without James playing on either team. James has now led the Lakers through an impressive postseason, as they have lost only three games during their path to the finals. People were questioning their chances in the playoffs because of their poor performance during the eight-game return-to-play in the bubble, but it’s clear that the Lakers have regained their focus, and James is determined to earn his fourth ring.

The Miami Heat continue to impress after sweeping the Pacers, winning in five games against the Bucks and overcoming the Celtics in the conference final. Miami has been so hard to stop with their leading scorer changing every game. Jimmy Butler has been the ringleader, bringing the energy that fuels this team, but Miami’s balanced attack and team defense have also contributed to the Heat’s efforts during this immaculate postseason run.

Let’s take a look at how each team can leave 2020 with the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

How can the Lakers win?

Offensively, the Lakers need to continue to do what they’ve been doing this entire offseason by running the offense through James. Anthony Davis has also been a key for this offense, averaging 28.8 points per game.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Lakers are going to have a hard time focusing on a certain player. The Lakers were able to focus on locking up players such as Jamal Murray, James Harden and Damian Lillard in the earlier rounds of the playoffs, but Miami doesn’t have a player of that nature. They’ll have to identify when a player is having “a night” and contain him before he afflicts more damage.

How can the Heat win?

Every team has been struggling with this Lakers roster. Do you put your best defender on James or Davis? It seems like Butler will end up guarding LeBron and Bam Adebayo will have to guard Davis, but who is going to guard Dwight Howard or JaVale McGee?

The Lakers’ large roster is the main factor that has been allowing them to dominate the rebounds, finishing No. 1 offensively. The Heat will have to find a way to box out and stop the Lakers from getting second-chance points.

So who wins it?

In the end, this is the Lakers’ series to lose. LeBron James is just unstoppable. The Heat will make this series interesting like they have in each round so far, but the Lakers are going to cause matchup issues the entire series. It is a tough feat to stop both Davis and James with the way they have been playing. Expect the Heat to steal a game early, but James is on a mission to prove why he is the best player to ever play the game. He won’t miss this opportunity.

Prediction: Lakers win the series 4-2

 

Austin Groft is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email atg5271@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

Dale Ostrander's photo

Dale Ostrander

/ Broadcast Journalism

Dale Ostrander is a Junior from Parish, New York majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State and a minor in Sports Studies. He is a play-by-play announcer for the CommRadio sports department. He appears frequently on weekly college football and college basketball podcasts. If you would like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). and follow him on Twitter @Dale61157

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Matthew McLaughlin

Freshman / Broadcast Journalism

Matthew “Matt” McLaughlin is a freshman from Abington, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and analyst in all three departments for CommRadio. He’s been featured as an analyst on live shows such as Daylate Tailgate, State College Saturdays and Hail Mary.

Austin Groft's photo

Austin Groft

Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism

Austin Groft is a third-year student from Lancaster, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and play-by-play announcer for the CommRadio sports department. His writings cover topics across the NFL, NBA, and NCAA football/basketball. Austin also works part-time with Penn State Athletics as a production assistant. To contact Austin, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Sam Kirk's photo

Sam Kirk

Freshman / Broadcast Journalism

Sam Kirk is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and podcaster for the CommRadio sports department. He is featured weekly in the fantasy football podcast as well as with the live show Hail Mary. Sam has written articles all across the board that deal with baseball, football and basketball. He is also working for a football media company called Inside the Hashes, writing articles and contributing to their YouTube channel.