Jay C. Brandriet
The longest season in NBA history is coming to a close.
Our parting gift in the bubble is a Miami Heat, L.A. Lakers matchup in the Finals.
A solid series, with some healthy storylines.
After Miami eliminated Boston in the East, my first thought was that LeBron would be facing a former team and coach.
LeBron versus Pat Riley is a bit juicy as well.
The Lakers are trying to tie the Boston Celtics with 17 championships.
The Heat are trying to splash cold water in all of our faces.
THE MIAMI HEAT
Any more questions about how good of coach Erik Spoelstra is?
I like this Heat team.
Imagine the little engine that could, with muscles and a three-point shot.
Jimmy Butler is an established, low level star. Some of his typical clutch buckets on this stage would move him up the status ladder.
Bam Adebayo is a force. In the days to come, he will be considered the new monster on the block.
Goran Dragic’ is slick and fearless on the court.
Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson make timely shots.
Andre Iguodala is likely more name than game at this point.
He and Jae Crowder provide valuable 3-and-D help.
Miami’s roster may not blow you away.
How they mesh and compete is what stands out.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
To me, this has been the team to beat all year.
The series would have been close, but the Lakers would have wiped out the Clippers too.
LeBron James is the straw that stirs the drink.
Let me tell you, dude is still stirring well!
The Lakers have a better Bam, in Anthony Davis. With his first crack at a ring, he will play like he’s starving.
Rajon Rondo is a playoff stud. A nice contribution here may punch his ticket to the Hall of Fame.
Dwight Howard is an obvious Hall of Famer. He’s been stellar in his role and has a chance to win his first ring. In Orlando, Florida of all places.
Caldwell-Pope could be an x factor.
Caruso is a spark plug this group feeds off.
McGee, Kuzma, Morris and Danny Green? The Lakers have length everywhere.
Coach Frank Vogel only gets mentioned when these guys lose. A victory here changes all of that.
WHO WILL WIN, AND IN HOW MANY GAMES?
This reminds me a little of the 2004 Finals, with a different turnout.
The Heat would be the Pistons.
The Lakers would be, well, the Lakers.
Shaq and Kobe were coming apart at that point.
In this scenario, LeBron and AD are coming together.
The best power in pro basketball is usually star power.
Those two will be the difference.
Tony Parks told me, “I’ve loved what I’ve seen from the Heat. I like them the same way I did the 1999 Knicks. It’s over for them now.”
It’s not a bad comparison, and I mostly agree.
In a gritty six game series, I’ll take the Lakers.
Jay C. Brandriet