Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
The Los Angeles Lakers opened up a new championship era in franchise history Sunday by taking the first NBA Finals victory of the LeBron James-Anthony Davis partnership.
The Lakers finished off their six-game series with the Miami Heat by turning in the most dominant performance of the series.
Los Angeles defeated Miami 106-93 in Game 6, but the final score does not represent how one-sided the final contest inside the Orlando bubble was.
Frank Vogel’s team took a 64-36 lead into the half, and it took a 27-point lead over the Eastern Conference champion into the final quarter.
James and Davis controlled the contest, just like they did for most of the series, by combining for 47 points and 29 rebounds.
James captured the Most Valuable Player award for averaging 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game in the NBA Finals. Davis also averaged a double-double with 25 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
According to NBA History, James and Davis became the second Lakers duo in franchise history to average 25-plus points per game in an NBA Finals. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant achieved that feat in 2002.
Jimmy Butler was the only other player in the series to come close to matching one of those averages, as he had 26.2 points per game.
In Game 6, Butler was not a factor in the scoring column. Miami’s top star produced 12 points and managed to get off 10 field-goal attempts. He averaged 16 shot attempts in the series.
Miami was unable to match the scoring depth of the Lakers from the start of Game 6, as the newly crowned champion received some valuable minutes off the bench from Rajon Rondo.
Rondo contributed 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting and he added four rebounds and four assists in the title-clinching performance.
He became only the second player in NBA history to win a title with the Lakers and Boston Celtics, per ESPN:
The double-digit performances from Rondo and Danny Green were in stark contrast to what the Lakers received in Game 5, when James, Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were their only players over 10 points.
Miami remained in the series because of its depth around Butler. Duncan Robinson was the Heat’s secondary star in Game 5, as he put up 26 points and shot 7-of-13 from three-point range.
Unfortunately for the Heat, Robinson and the other supporting players were unable to help out Butler on a consistent basis over six games.
In Game 6, the Heat only had four players reach double figures, and only Bam Adebayo had more than 12 points.
The injuries to Adebayo and Goran Dragic—the latter returned to play 18 minutes and 56 seconds in Game 6—was one of the many difference-makers in the series.
Without Dragic on the court from Games 2-5, the Heat had to rely on their young stable of guards, led by Robinson and Tyler Herro.
While Robinson and Herro looked strong in spurts of the series, they were not consistent enough for Miami to threaten the Lakers’ title aspirations. Herro averaged 14.7 points per game in the NBA Finals, but he had 19 points in the final two games.
Adebayo played in four games, but he was not able to outplay Davis in the paint for long stretches and did not have much support behind him on the depth chart from Kelly Olynyk and others.
Miami has a solid foundation in place to challenge for more Eastern Conference titles in the near future, but it will have to fend off threats from Boston, Milwaukee and a healthy Brooklyn team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The Lakers should have a large championship window in front of them with James and Davis in place, but in order to repeat in 2021, they must deal with the likes of Denver, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers in what has been the tougher of the two conferences in recent years.
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Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference