The Los Angeles Lakers, fueled by superstar LeBron James’ triple-double, on Sunday dominated the Miami Heat 106-93 to win a record-equaling 17th NBA championship, their first in a decade.
James added another chapter to an epic career, delivering 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as he captured his fourth NBA title with a third team.
He earned NBA Finals Most Valuable Player honors for a fourth time and said that the accomplishment had a special flavor with the Lakers.
“This is a historic franchise and to be a part of this is something that I’ll be able to talk about, and my grandkids and kids will be able to talk about — their pawpaw played for the Los Angeles Lakers,” James said. “It’s like playing for the Yankees and winning, or playing for the Cowboys and winning a Super Bowl, or the Patriots. It’s like playing for the Red Sox.”
James said that the magnitude of what he was trying to accomplish with the Lakers kept his mind focused in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.
“To be able to win with a historical franchise is something that, no matter if your mind wavers away, you can always remember what you’re doing it for,” said James, recalling that he told Lakers president Jeanie Buss when he arrived in Los Angeles in 2018 that he “wanted to put this franchise back where it belongs.”
Anthony Davis, playing in his first title series after years of frustration in New Orleans, added 19 points and 15 rebounds as the Lakers completed a 4-2 series triumph more than eight months after the helicopter crash that killed team legend Kobe Bryant, who had led the Lakers to their previous title in 2010.
The series capped not only an emotional season for the Lakers with the loss of talisman Bryant, but a season of uncertainty and upheaval for the NBA as players grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the demands for social and racial justice sweeping across the US.
The Lakers outhustled, outmuscled and outplayed Miami, making sure it would not come down to any last-gasp effort as it did when Los Angeles were denied in Game 5 on Friday last week.
Los Angeles had blown Game 6 open by halftime, their 36 second-quarter points equaling the Heat’s entire first-half total, as the Lakers took a 64-36 lead into the break with four players already scoring in double figures.
Rajon Rondo was a perfect six-for-six from the floor in the first half as the Lakers built the second-largest halftime lead in NBA Finals history.
Rondo, who won a title with the Celtics in 2008, scored 19 points off the bench.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 17 and Danny Green scored 11 as the Lakers pulled level with the Boston Celtics for most titles.
Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder added 12 apiece, but Miami simply had no answer for the knockout blow Los Angeles delivered in the first half.
“Obviously, nobody likes to lose, but I think we fought all year long, ups and downs, we stayed together — and I think that’s what it’s all about,” Butler said.
James played his 260th playoff game — surpassing Derek Fisher for the most all time.
He said that one of the great satisfactions of the victory was helping Davis gain a title.
“I know what it feels like to have seven years where you feel like you can’t get over the hump,” said James, who had his arms around Davis on the sideline as the final seconds ticked off the clock. “To be able to get him, and we push him and let him know how great he is ... that’s what it’s all about.”
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