Lakers sweep NBA playoffs to the surprise of nobody

November 2, 2020 — by Jonathan Li

The 2020 NBA season, which ended with the Lakers winning the championship over the Miami Heat on Oct. 11, was by far the craziest one we’ve ever seen .

That craziness inside the bubble continued into the Finals, with the players’ stats shifting around more violently than Danny Green’s ability to hit 3 pointers and with some of the clutchest moments in memory. 

By far the best part of the season was seeing my favorite team (the Los Angeles Lakers, of course) steamroll through the playoffs into the finals.

As an avid sports fan and totally not a LeBron bandwagon, the Lakers are hands down the best team in the league. Feel free to disagree, but I think it’s obvious. 

Your team probably didn’t even make it into the bubble. But let’s not compare one of the greatest duos of all time (James and Anthony Davis are unstoppable) with an insane supporting cast to a team like the Warriors. 

Prior to the Lakers’ stellar performance in the playoffs, the team’s only real competitors were the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers. And if you even remotely followed the NBA, you’d know both of these teams choked — HARD.

Kawhi Leonard, a two-time NBA champion with the Spurs and Raptors, joined forces with Paul George, last season’s MVP frontrunner, and some of the best players in the world in the Clippers. Needless to say, many experts were betting that these guys would win it. After all, just last season, Kawhi had carried the Raptors past the 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks without much trouble and beat an injury-riddled Warriors in six games.

Now you all might point out that the Lakers didn’t even get to the Finals in 2019, making some random excuse about how they need some of the best players in the league to win. I would absolutely agree, but that applies to pretty much any team — Jordan needed Pippen; Kobe needed Shaq or Gasol; Curry needed Green, Durant, and Thompson; Leonard had Paul George, Barkley, and one of the most objectively solid teams in the league with the Clippers.

Yet, they still ended up blowing a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets and missed the Western Conference Finals. It got so bad that George was dubbed “Pandemic P” following a spectacular failure to match the high standards of fans in two of the seven games against the Nuggets and several games against the Dallas Mavericks. George, an all-star who averaged 28 points last season, was throwing up more shots than any of his teammates and scoring significantly less, sometimes even in the single digits. 

When a team is bricking shot after shot, blowing a 3-1 lead, it isn’t really fun to watch or support them. Although it was pretty funny to watch them get destroyed, knowing that guys like commentator Skip Bayless will be coming up with a host of excuses the next day. 

Let’s not forget Jamal Murray and Luka Doncic either — those guys absolutely popped off. 

While Paul George was choking spectacularly in the West, the Milwaukee Bucks, the number one seed team in the league, led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetoukoumpo, were supposed to dominate the East and breeze into the Finals…

They got destroyed by the Miami Heat 4-2 and didn’t even make the Eastern Conference Finals. At least the Clippers were close, there wasn’t even a competition between the Heat and the overhyped Bucks.

As it turns out, the only team left standing with the championship trophy were the Lakers. Fueled by James and y Davis, the Lakers became an unstoppable force inside the bubble, with Dwight Howard pulling into the starting lineup and Kentavious Caldwell Pope playing incredibly consistently. 

We saw Rajon Rondo turn on playoff mode, putting up great numbers as a supporting player to the Davis and James duo. Combined those two were scoring over 60 points per game, with Davis making arguably the clutchest last-second 3-pointer of his career against the Nuggets to secure a 2-0 lead early on. 

With such a dominant win, what is there to hate on? Now usually, bandwagoning with LeBron isn’t really something to brag about, but for me, it’s something that I’m proud of. Because let’s be honest, the man gets some serious, undeserved hate; it was only last season when Laker fans were vandalizing photos and murals of him, even going as far as burning his jerseys.

Those jerks changed their tune real quick after James and Davis clinched the Lakers’ 16th ring.

What was supposed to be an epic duel between the Bucks and the Clippers or the Lakers ended up fizzling into a Finals showdown between the Heat and the Lakers. 

Initially, it looked like the Lakers would easily pull the win against the Heat, but Jimmy Butler took off and did his best to carry his team with Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro to two wins against the Lakers. But when Game 6 rolled around, it wasn’t even close. I mean, Howard was given the greenlight to shoot  a 3-pointer — it doesn’t get more humiliating than that. 

Looking at this run, looking at the absolute powerhouse that is the Lakers, it’s going to be quite some time before they’re dethroned. And even if you don’t agree with me, this playoff series successfully proved the “haters” wrong, and showcased just how good 35-year-old LeBron actually is. I can only hope that none of the key players get traded or leave the team (except for Danny Green, get him out of here). We don’t want another Cleveland Cavaliers situation after all.

But hey, either way, wherever LeBron James goes, that’s where my support will be. 

 

 

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