NBA Finals Preview: Heat vs. Lakers

This year’s NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers is full of great players and great storylines such as LeBron James playing his old team, Heat President Pat Riley being the Lakers’ former coach, and many players making their first Finals appearance such as Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, etc.

As far as who has the advantage and will win the series, that requires a more in-depth look. 

Surrounded by defenders, the Heat’s Goran Dragic drives to the basket during Game 4 of the 2020 NBA Finals. (Photo courtesy of

The Miami Heat are a team that has shown an ability to knock down the three ball at an exceptional rate. They have the fourth-best percentage in the league to be exact, while their opponent, the Lakers, have not done nearly as well. They are only the 20th-best percentage in the league. This may come in as a costly mistake in this series more than ever because of the Heat’s use of a 2-3 zone defense. In a 2-3 zone, the goal is to slow down the offense and force it to play in the half court. To beat such a zone defense, teams need to penetrate and kick out of the middle of the zone, but to do this effectively you must hit the 3-pointer at a consistent rate.

In terms of the individual matchups, each team offers problems for its opponent. 

At point guard, the Heat’s veteran, Goran Dragic – an All-Star and former Most Improved Player – will be facing off against Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. At shooting guard, second-year sharpshooter Duncan Robinson goes up against two-time NBA champion (Spurs and Raptors) against Danny Green. The Heat have Jae Crowder at power forward who will have to be at the top of his game as he matches up with Lakers’ guard and four-time All-NBA First Team superstar Anthony Davis. At center, Miami’s Bam Adebayo will have to be extra strong as he faces off against future Hall of

The Laker’s LeBron James vs. the Heat’s Jimmy Butler is the marquee matchup of the series. (Photo courtesy of (AP).)

Famer Dwight Howard. Everyone’s favorite matchup, though, may be at small forward, where the Heat star Jimmy Butler and the Laker’s LeBron James, arguably the game’s greatest player, will go toe to toe. For the Lakers, some key bench players will be shooting guard Alex Caruso and crafty point guard Rajon Rondo. However, the Heat will counter with three-point specialist Tyler Herro and three-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala.

As far as who will win the series, students are split on these two very popular NBA teams.

“I think the Lakers have enough star power to do a lot of damage to the Heat’s defense, but the Heat’s zone defense may shake the Lakers up a bit,” said sixth grader Griffon Alterman. “LeBron James will turn it up to another level because he knows this will decide whether he is the best or not,” he said.

“I believe the Heat will win because of their good zone defense and amazing team chemistry,” said seventh grader Julian Luiz says.

“There is a difference between who I want to win, and who I think will win,” said Director of Digital Media Mr. Nicholas Crisafi, the boys’ sixth-grade basketball team coach and rabid Boston Celtics fan. “I want the Heat to win because I hate the Lakers. The Heat were able to score when it mattered [against Boston], both inside and outside, and they weren’t intimidated by the Celtics’ defense.  I do think the Lakers will win, but I am pulling for the Heat”. According to Crisafi, it’s going to come down to who can be the most efficient with the ball. “The Heat also have great players like Herro, Bam, and Dragic. Butler is always on his game. They are going to need to step up on offense because the Lakers are so good offensively, so, they are going to need to put up more points than they usually do if they want to beat this Laker team”.

The Neersyde’s prediction is the Heat will win in six games because the Heat are a team that can play both sides of the court very well. The Lakers are more offense than defense, so if the Heat can have their threes drop, then they will have the upper hand against the Lakers.

Let’s see how it plays out on the court.