By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Erik Spoelstra previously coached LeBron James in the NBA Finals. Now, the Miami Heat head coach will coach against the face of the league in the 2020 NBA Finals.
James played for the Heat from 2010 through 2014. During his tenure in South Beach, Spoelstra guided the team to two Championships in 2012 and 2013.
Spoelstra — who has led the Heat since the 2008-09 season — is going to have try to stop James this time around. He’s going to also have to try to stop Anthony Davis and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers roster through his coaching techniques.
On the season, the Heat has gone 56-32. The Lakers; on the other hand, have gone 64-22.
Miami is 12-3 in the playoffs. One loss was to the Milwaukee Bucks, who have Giannis Antetokounmpo – who won back-to-back regular season MVP Awards.
The Heat lost the other two games to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Los Angeles also has won 12 games, while dropping three. They lost one game to the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and the Denver Nuggets.
The NBA odds are already live for the NBA Finals Game 1, and the Lakers are heading as favorites by 5 points, according to Sports Betting Dime.
The two teams will do battle beginning on Wednesday, September 30th, at 9 pm EST on ABC. Then on Friday, October 2nd, the teams will play the second game of the series at 9 pm EST on ABC.
Game 3 of the NBA Finals will come on Sunday, October 4th. However, instead of a 9 pm EST start time on ABC, this game will be played beginning at 7:30 pm EST.
The fourth game of the series will go back to 9 pm EST on Tuesday, October 6th on ABC. Following two days off, Game 5 if needed will take place on Friday, October 9th on ABC at 9 pm EST.
If necessary, the final two games will be played on Sunday, October 11th at 7:30 pm on ABC. And the final game, if necessary, will be played on Tuesday, October 13th at 9 pm on ABC.
The Heat’s offense is scoring 112 points per game, which is the 15th-best in the league. However, the Lakers defense is the fourth-best at 107.6.
“They have three All-Star-level players in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragić,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said, according to the Miami Herald. “When healthy, Dragić is an All-Star-level player. They (acquired) a Hall of Famer in Andre Iguodala.
“They have shooting, they have toughness. No surprise they’ve had such a successful postseason run. Very impressed with what they’ve been able to do beating three teams convincingly that if we played 82 games were on pace to win 50 games.”
Los Angeles is the 11th-best offense at 113.4 points per game. Miami’s defense is the 10th-best at 109.1.
“We’re going to have to play damn near perfect because they’re such a good team and they do so many things well,” Butler said after the Heat’s series-clinching 125-113 win Sunday over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. “Obviously, you know the star power that they have. We’re not going to back down, though. … We’re going to lock into this film and we’re going to be ready to go. I think it will be some must-see TV.”
The Lakers won both games during the regular season. However, none of the games were with this new-look Heat roster following the trade deadline.
The Lakers won 95-80 on Nov. 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 22 points, while Anthony Davis led his Lakers with 26 points.
Then, in December 2019, the Lakers also defeated the Heat 113-110 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Davis led the Lakers once again with 33 points, while Butler also led his team with 23 points.
Butler led the Heat with 19.9 points per game during the regular season. They have eight players, who have averaged double-digits in scoring on the season.
Davis led the Lakers with 26.1 points per game during the regular season. Four of the Lakers averaged double-figures.
He is the fifth-leading scorer in the playoffs with 28.8 points per game. James is the eighth-leading scorer with 26.7.
The Heat; however, have the 19th and 20th leading scorers in the playoffs. Dragić leads the team with 20.9, while Butler is scoring 20.7.
“We don’t want to let each other down,” Davis said. “We know why I came here. We want to win a championship. We’re four wins away. A step closer to our goal.”