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My NBA 10* Game of the Year is on the LA Lakers at 9:00 ET.
The Miami Heat may be just the East's No. 5 but they are in The Finals against the LA Lakers, the West's No. 1 seed. Miami is the first team seeded fifth or lower to reach the NBA Finals since the eighth-seeded New York Knicks lost to San Antonio in 1999. The last team seeded fifth or lower to win an NBA title was Houston in 1995, when it beat Orlando as the West's No. 6 seed. The Lakers cleared enough cap space to lure LeBron James in 2018 free agency and then traded the cache of draft assets they collected in six straight trips to the lottery for Anthony Davis. Owning two of the five best players in the league has the Lakers on the verge of tying the Celtics for the most NBA titles all-time, at 17.
While the Lakers own the two-best players in this series, look at the Heat's journey to The Finals. They swept the undermanned Indiana Pacers in the first round (4-0 ATS) and then KO'd two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks in the second round (4-1 SU & ATS) on the strength of a versatile defense and an arsenal of offensive weaponry, They then beat the equally well-balanced Celtics in the conference finals in six games (4-2 SU & ATS) by out-hustling and out-executing Boston. All FIVE starters average in double figures, led by PG Dragic (20.9-4.2-4.7), swingman Butler (30.7-5.7-4.5) and PF Adebayo (18.5-11.4-4.9). SF Crowder (12/3 & 5.7) and SG Robinson (11.5) round out the starting-five, while Kentucky rookie guard Tyler Herro (16.5) has become a playoff star coming off the bench.
Switching to the Lakers, it's A.D. (28.8 & 9.3) and LBJ (26.7-10.3-8.9) plus a ever-changing cast of characters that play well one game and then disappear in the next. Kuzma is the team's first player off the bunch and is the only other Laker to average in double digits (10.5), more than two 'TDs' fewer than A.D. and LBJ. Caldwell-Pope (9.9) and Danny Green (8.1) have joined A.D. and LBJ as having started all 15 games of the playoffs LA. Caldwell-Pope, Green and Kuzma are joined by a rotating collection of Alex Caruso, Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee, Markieff Morris and Rajon Rondo, not exactly the kind of supporting cast you would expect on a dominant playoff team.
Both teams are 12-3 with Miami going 12-3 ATS, while the Lakers are 9-5-1 ATS. The Lakers can be a disjointed group but A.D. and LBJ are truly a 'Dynamic Duo!' Also, the Lakers are shooting an impressive 49.8% as a team and when they've been favored by six points or less in this season's playoffs, have gone 4-0-1 ATS. My NBA Game of the Year is on the LA Lakers!