Monday October 26th, 2020 2:41AM

Bubble Kings: Lakers run past Heat for 17th NBA championship

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The ultimate anguish. The ultimate joy.

This season, for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, had it all. And it ended in the only fashion that they deemed would be acceptable, with them back atop the basketball world.

For the first time since Kobe Bryant's fifth and final title a decade ago, the Lakers are NBA champions. James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday night to win the NBA Finals in six games.

“Our organization wants their respect. Laker Nation wants their respect," James said. “And I want my damn respect, too."

Anthony Davis had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who dealt with the enormous anguish that followed the death of the iconic Bryant in January and all the challenges that came with leaving home for three months to play at Walt Disney World in a bubble designed to keep inhabitants safe from the coronavirus.

It would be, James predicted, the toughest title to ever win.

“We have a Ph.D in adversity, I'll tell you that much," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We've been through a lot."

They made the clincher look easy. James won his fourth title, doing it with a third different franchise — and against the Heat franchise that showed him to to become a champion.

Bam Adebayo had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, which got 12 points from Jimmy Butler — the player who, in his first Heat season, got the team back to title contention. Rajon Rondo scored 19 points for the Lakers, who put together the elite talents of James and Davis with this moment in mind.

And Davis, as white and gold confetti coated the floor around him, spent his first moments as an NBA champion thinking of Bryant.

“All we wanted to do was do it for him," Davis said. “And we didn't let him down. ... I know he's looking down on us, proud of us."

With that, the league’s bubble chapter, put together after a 4 1/2-month suspension of play that started March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic and came with a promise that it would raise awareness to the problems of racial injustice and police brutality, is over. So, too, is a season that saw the league and China get into political sparring, the death on Jan. 1 of commissioner emeritus David Stern — the man who did so much to make the league what it is — and then the shock on Jan. 26 that came with the news that Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other died in a helicopter crash.

The Lakers said they were playing the rest of the season in his memory.

They delivered what Bryant did five times for L.A. — a ring, and the clincher was emphatic.

“You have written your own inspiring chapter in the great Laker history," Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said. “And to Laker Nation, we have been through a heartbreaking tragedy with the loss of our beloved Kobe Bryant. Let this trophy serve as a reminder of when we come together, believe in each other, incredible things can happen."

Game 6 was over by halftime, the Lakers taking a 64-36 lead into the break. The Heat never led and couldn’t shoot from anywhere: 35% from 2-point range in the half, 33% from 3-point range and even an uncharacteristic 42% from the line, not like any of it really mattered. The Lakers were getting everything they wanted and then some, outscoring Miami 36-16 in the second quarter and doing all that with James making just one shot in the period.

Rondo, now a two-time champion and the first to win NBA rings as a player in the cities of Boston and Los Angeles — the franchises now tied with 17 titles apiece — was 6 for 6 in the half, the first time he’d done that since November 2007. The Lakers’ lead was 46-32 with 5:00 left in the half, and they outscored Miami 18-4 from there until intermission.

Ball game. The 28-point halftime lead was the second-biggest in NBA Finals history, topped only by the Celtics leading the Lakers 79-49 on May 27, 1985.

“We didn't get the final result that we wanted," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But even what I mentioned to the guys, these are going to be lifetime memories that we have together. This locker room ... we're going to remember this year, this season, this experience and that locker room brotherhood for the rest of our lives."

True to form, the Heat — a No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference that finished with a losing record last season, a team that embraced the challenge of the bubble like none other — didn't stop playing, not even when the deficit got to 36 in the third quarter.

“We’re trending in the right direction," Butler said. “We’re going to learn from this. We’re going to get better. We’re going to come back."

A 23-8 run by Miami got the Heat to 90-69 with 8:37 left. But the outcome was never in doubt, and before long confetti was blasted into the air as the Lakers' celebration formally and officially began.

“Laker Nation," Vogel, now a first-time champion who saw his title hopes as Indiana's coach thwarted three times by James and the Heat, bellowed during the trophy ceremony. “We did it."


Lakers: Davis did not wear the gold-painted sneakers that he had for Game 5; instead, he went with red-and-black ones Sunday. ... Among the ring-winners: Dion Waiters, who began this season with the Heat; 19-year-old Talen Horton-Tucker (he turns 20 Nov. 25) and Kostas Antetokounmpo — the brother of two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Heat: Goran Dragic (torn left plantar fascia) checked in late in the first quarter, his first appearance since Game 1 of the series. “I just wanted to be out there to help my team as much as possible. It is what it is. The Lakers were better," an emotional Dragic said. ... Jae Crowder had 12 points and Duncan Robinson had 10 for the Heat.


John Salley and Robert Horry were, until Sunday, the only players to win championships with three different franchises. James (Miami, Cleveland) and Danny Green (San Antonio, Toronto) added their names to that list with this title.


Miami led the NBA with 94 games played this season — 30 more than Minnesota, which played the fewest in the NBA. The Heat finished with 1,247 3-pointers this season, including playoffs, 290 more than any other year in team history.


Nobody knows. The draft is set for Nov. 18, but the dates for the start of free agency, training camps and next season’s schedule could be weeks away from being finalized.


More AP NBA: and

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bubble Kings: Lakers run past Heat for 17th NBA championship
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are back atop the NBA world
10:10PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Sabres agree to sign Taylor Hall to 1-year, $8 million deal
The Buffalo Sabres have agreed to sign free-agent forward Taylor Hall to a one-year, $8 million contract
9:40PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Elliott wins at Roval as champ Busch bounced from playoffs
NASCAR will crown a new champion this year following Kyle Busch’s elimination in the second round of the playoffs
9:30PM ( 48 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
NFL does major juggling of schedule due to coronavirus
The NFL has done major juggling to the regular-season schedule due to coronavirus outbreaks with the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots
7:20PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Tough day for last year's Super Bowl teams
This hasn’t been a good day for last season’s two Super Bowl participants
7:12PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott carted off field
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has sustained a gruesome injury to his right ankle in the third quarter against the New York Giants
6:55PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
NBA Finals get intense, and Game 6 of Lakers-Heat looms
The Lakers’ Anthony Davis and Miami’s Jae Crowder both ended up on the floor midway through the third quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Finals
4:09PM ( 1 day ago )
King James scores 40, but a Lakers coronation has to wait
LeBron James was trying to do everything it took to knock out the Miami Heat and deliver the Lakers a championship, but he needed one more chance
8:36AM ( 1 day ago )
Heat force Game 6, top Lakers to stave off elimination
The trophy was ready
12:37AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
Democrat's praise of strict gun law roils Kansas Senate race
Republicans are circulating a video of Democrats’ candidate for an open U_S_ Senate seat in Kansas praising strict Australian gun laws that she said “took them all away.”
7:01PM ( 3 hours ago )
Security guard jailed in deadly shooting at Denver protests
Police in Denver say a private security guard working for a local TV station was jailed for investigation of first-degree murder in the deadly shooting of another man during dueling right- and left-wing protests
6:42PM ( 3 hours ago )
'We can’t lose our momentum:' Louisiana vows to rebuild
Utility crews in Louisiana are scrambling to restore power and residents in the besieged southwest part of the state are vowing to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Delta
6:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Lithuania holds national vote, coalition talks expected
Lithuanians have voted in the first round of the parliamentary election in which the electorate will choose 141 national lawmakers, and the ruling four-party coalition is facing a stiff challenge from the opposition
2:23PM ( 7 hours ago )
Supreme Court pick Barrett draws on faith, family for Senate
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett vows to be a justice “fearless of criticism" as the Senate charges ahead with confirmation hearings on President Donald Trump’s pick just weeks before Election Day and with the country struggling to contain the pandemic
2:01PM ( 8 hours ago )
Lucky 13 in Paris lets Nadal tie Federer with 20 Slam titles
Rafael Nadal has beaten Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the French Open final to win his 20th Grand Slam title
1:44PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Team investigating deadly Calif. fire seizes PG&E equipment
Fire investigators looking into what caused a wildfire that killed four people in far Northern California have taken possession of equipment belonging to Pacific Gas and Electric
2:58PM ( 7 hours ago )
Race for Los Angeles district attorney increasingly bitter
Race and police reform are clashing in what has become a bitter campaign for Los Angeles County district attorney
12:59PM ( 9 hours ago )
Guard in custody after man dies in shooting at protests
A private security guard working for a TV station was in custody Saturday after a person died from a shooting that took place during dueling protests in downtown Denver
11:54AM ( 10 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Lakers top Heat 102-96, take 3-1 lead in NBA Finals
Anthony Davis punched his chest in celebration
2:46AM ( 4 days ago )
Adebayo back in Heat lineup for Game 4; Dragic still out
Bam Adebayo is back for the Miami Heat after a two-game absence
8:08PM ( 5 days ago )
Milwaukee scraps early voting plans at Fiserv, Miller Park
Election officials have scrapped plans to use the Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers' stadiums as early voting sites
3:24PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Sabres agree to sign Taylor Hall to 1-year, $8 million deal
The Buffalo Sabres have agreed to sign free-agent forward Taylor Hall to a one-year, $8 million contract
9:40PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Elliott wins at Roval as champ Busch bounced from playoffs
NASCAR will crown a new champion this year following Kyle Busch’s elimination in the second round of the playoffs
9:30PM ( 48 minutes ago )
Laird redeems himself in playoff to win again in Las Vegas
Martin Laird is a winner in Las Vegas again thanks to the 17th hole
9:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Mayfield throws 2 TDs, Browns hold off Colts to move to 4-1
Baker Mayfield passed for a season-high 247 yards and two touchdowns against the NFL’s No. 1 defense, Myles Garrett forced a crucial safety in the fourth quarter and the Cleveland Browns beat the Indianapolis Colts 32-23 to improve to 4-1 for the first time since 1994
9:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Prescott has gruesome injury, Cowboys rally to beat Giants
Dak Prescott sustained a gruesome ankle injury not long after his first career touchdown catch before backup Andy Dalton led a drive to a field goal on the final play, and the Dallas Cowboys beat the winless New York Giants 37-34
8:59PM ( 1 hour ago )