The Heat last appeared in the finals during the 2014 season, when James was part of the team. Miami played the underdog after defeating the Fakir Bucks and the Celtics. Now it has to face its toughest challenge.
Can Jimmy Butler & Co. overtake the Lakers to win the title? The crossover staff predicts its finals.
Chris Mannix: Lockers Over Heat In Five
A point comes when placing bets against LeBron James just becomes silly, such as hunting leprosy at the end of the rainbow or believing a scratch ticket was the path to eternal riches. James has played in tenten—Now and only special teams have defeated him. The Spurs were the Spurs in 2007 and 2014 – the Warriors were a mini-dynasty and even in Dallas, 2011, Destiny had a small team going for it. The heat is very Well, a bonafide closer is with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebyo a fast developing star but they are young-very Youth-dominant positions and no one really has that can slow James down. Miami is a much better team in which the Lakers beat the regular season twice, but LA is playing better, perhaps, their best basketball of the season, with Rajon Rondo emerging in an important role and Dwight Howard returning the clock Huh. Miami will compete in every game in this series. It states that they only win one of them.
Michael Rosenberg: Lockers Over Heat In Six
This is a good matchup for the Heat. Bomb Adebayo can put anyone on the floor, and Jimmy Butler is able to give the problems of fearless and LeBron James. The Heat has more people capable of going away for 20 points – Adebayo,
Butler, Tyler Harrow, Duncan Robinson, Goran Dragic and so it wouldn’t shock me at all if Miami wins the series. Right now it is very difficult to choose against James and Anthony Davis. They are the two best players of this series, and they have been off for weeks.
Rohan Nadkarni: Heat in five at Lakers
La Spoelstra Nostra. culture. Saint. (More recent) block. We got shooters. How much heat platitude do I have to throw at you? After selecting the Celtics sheepishly in the conference finals, I am going with my heart for the championship round. (I grew up in South Florida, and I’m probably one of six people who own a pair of Dwayne Wade’s “Biscayne” Jordan.) This means that I’m raising the Heat.
Eric Spoelstra never lost to Frank Vogel in the playoffs, I believe he is going to start now? Pat Riley will come down from his plexiglass case of non-sentiment and suit Armani as assistant coach if it means taking LeBron down in the final. The Lakers were created to win a championship, acquiring top-flight talents at James and Davis and surrounding them with mostly legendary businessmen. Heat was produced for the bubble, a close-knit group with a dedication to (and frankly, more drained) grinds. The series is a confrontation of genres, both on the court and in the front office. The Heat have already defeated the MVP (88 first-place votes, baby!) And the No. 1 seed in the league. I am not going to fight them now.
Give me Rick Ross on Ice Cube. Give me Udonis Haslem on Wilt Chamberlain. Give me the South Beach relay over the Malibu relay. Give me heat over the Lakers.
Michael Shapiro: Lakers Over Heat In Seven
This is a legitimately problematic matchup for LeBron James and The Lakers, and we could very well win the 2004 final with an underdog Heat squad in place of the Pistons. Miami has a deep collection of quality playwrights, and should at least be of sufficient size for Los Angeles’ double-large lineup. Coach Eric Spoelstra will dominate the heat zone. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler should feast in pick-and-roll against Dam Howard and JaVale NBee. Miami has no meaning as James chases his fourth title.
Things can be volatile for Los Angeles, but his size and defensive upside should be enough, especially in a potential Game 7 dogfight. Davis is cementing himself as the next great Lakers big man. James remains at the peak of his powers because he did not quietly remember us on Saturday night. The strangest playoffs in league history should pave the way for an exciting final. James’ next ring will be fought against his former franchise.
Jeremy Wu: Heat Over Lakers in Seven
I was extremely tempted to take against the Lakers in a third straight series for Bit’s sake, but I wouldn’t do it. I think it’s going to be close. The Rockets were ultimately too young for Davis, and the Nuggets, despite the ascending Murray-Jokic combo, did not have enough different modes to close the game. On paper, the Heat do not have a perceived weakness to exploit the Lakers. Frank Vogel will have to be flexible in his approach at center, and his team has not dealt with anything close to Adebayo’s degree of physicality in these playoffs. I would expect Davis to take that matchup, which should be a treat, despite his strange hatred of playing five matches. Miami will almost certainly take the paint off and break its oddly successful field into sprites again, forcing other Lakers to build trees. But at the end of the day, LeBron and Davis are the best two-man combination in the league, and they appear on a mission. If this is not enough, what is? Miami’s resolve should extend this series to a breaking point, but it’s not hard to pick L.A.
Elizabeth Swinton: Lakers over heat in seven
So far no team needs seven matches to win the playoff series, but the finals may change. The Lakers have an advantage in star power, but the Heat have proved difficult to beat opponents aggressively and rely on their balance of young and experienced talent. Still, the Lakers are seen clicking at the right time with James stepping in with Davis. Jimmy Butler will likely make some noise in his first NBA Finals, and Harrow is proving his worth, but it will be up to the Lakers to complete an emotional season with the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Robin Lundberg: Lockers Over Heat In Five
I love summer I really do. They work hard, are selfless and are very well trained. And they have proved valid in all these playoffs. So I do not make this pick to take them lightly or to be cute. I’m not sure how they’ll deal with the Lakers’ length or whether they have bodies to keep James out of the paint. On the other end, Miami can certainly shoot, but it does not have players (as big fans as I am Butler) that draw the attention of the entire defense, such as LA has already faced . Once the Lakers adjust, I envision them assimilating their defense and stabbing them. What Adebayo and he can do to slow down both of LA’s superstars is probably the biggest wild card, but overall, I think the Lakers will be too much. And I did not see LeBron losing to his former team.
Melissa Rohlin: Lakers Over Heat In Five
The Lakers are in their sweetest place. Lebron James and Anthony Davis have proven a reciprocal court affair in which they are taking alternate stretches and quarters. They have performed this effortless dance at the playoffs, covering for each other as if they are carrying an invisible baton back and forth. The way Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard and other reserves have stepped in makes the Lakers invincible. The Lakers raced through each of their first three series in five matches, and I don’t see anything changing this time. The Lakers are a handful of games away from their first title in 10 years.
Shandell Richardson: Heat over Lakers in five
The Heat had a good run behind Jimmy Butler and Bum Adebayo, but this is James’ chance to solidify his legacy among the league’s greatest players. He would not be denied as inch closer to Michael Jordan’s goat position.
Ben Pickman: Heat over Lakers in six
There is no doubt that the roster has both the talent and depth to beat the Heat to the Lakers. Five times in the Eastern Conference Finals, at least five Heat players scored in double figures, the only time in Game 4 without five double-digit scorers, which was still a Heat win. But more than a plethora of scoring options, Miami’s wing depth will also make a big difference at the defensive end of the floor, where the Heat have multiple wings to throw on LeBron James, including Andre Igodala, Jay Crowder, Solomon. Hill, Butler and Adebayo. Still, given how James has played in recent rounds (and recent playoffs), it is fair to question how any of those players will be able to join the MVP four times in a row.
How Anthony Davis handled the Heat could also have a greater impact on the series’ outcome. Adebayo will likely spend time to time man to man safety, and you can expect a healthy serving of the zone by firing the zone’s inconsistent shooters from the Heat three and trying not to feed the AD inside . But if Adebayo gets into trouble with dishonesty, who will do the other? Kelly Olenik? Meyers Leonard? As the series progresses, this is a potential mismatch. The Lakers have two of the series’ best individual players and a core that is inconsistent at times, but has also made timely plays on both ends.