By Ollie Nash and Liam Melrose
LeBron James was again superb, winning his fourth title and Finals MVP. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Strong defense and energy is the strongest key to winning games of basketball
For anyone that follows basketball closely or has played a lot of basketball you’ll often hear analysts and coaches say, “strong defense translates into strong offense and defense wins you games of basketball.” In Game 6 the Lakers did just that.
The energy Los Angeles brought, particularly in the first half was paramount in them taking such a huge lead into halftime. They made it really tough for Miami to so much offensively, with an intimidating level of energy which brought strong defensive possessions translating into effective offensive play as they stamped their authority from the opening tip.
This led to them finishing the game 13-point winners and taking the franchises 17th Larry O’Brien trophy home to LA.
Role players help roll Lakers over the line
Every title winning team has strong role players who stand up when it matters most and Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did just that in Game 6. Both were at their best in tonight’s game and a crucial reason why Los Angeles clinched their 17th championship
The experienced Rondo finished with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes of game time. Caldwell-Pope finished with 17 points, with 15 of those coming in the first half to help the Lakers go into half-time with a 28-point lead.c
Despite a painful foot injury, Goran Dragic toughed it out to return in Game 6. Photo: David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images/AFP
Goran Dragic toughness
I discussed Bam Adebayo’s toughness in returning from his neck injury in Game 4 of these Finals, so I can’t forget about Goran Dragic after his return in Game 6.
The point guard hadn’t played since Game 1, when he tore his plantar fascia. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski the injury could not get worse if he played, his return just depended on if he could deal with the pain. It had been extreme, specifically when he warmed up to try and play in Games 4 and 5.
Despite this, and clearly hampered, Dragic bit his tongue to be able to play nearly 19 minutes and record five points, five rebounds and two assists. The Finals requires toughness both physically and mentally, which Dragic displayed in spades in getting back on the court.
Frank Vogel appreciation post
It’s a tough job coaching LeBron James. The pressure, publicity and expectation on Frank Vogel is something that only James’s former coaches would know about.
He has taken it in his stride though and had a superb year in his first season as Lakers head coach. Vogel’s playoff performance has been outstanding. He moved Dwight Howard to the starting line-up in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals and it had an immediate impact, winning the next two games to close out the series.
For Game 6 of the Finals he moved Caruso to the starting line-up, replacing Howard, and it had an immediate impact again. The Lakers jumped out to an eight point lead at quarter time and a 28-point lead at half-time, setting them up to win the 2020 title. Head home and crack open a cold one Frank, you can relax now.
Cover Photo: NBA Instagram