The Los Angeles Lakers will face the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals starting Wednesday night

By Jason Duaine Hahn
September 29, 2020 03:56 PM
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LeBron James (left) and Jimmy Butler
| Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty; Michael Reaves/Getty

Though it may have seemed impossible six months ago, the NBA is on the brink of crowning this year's champion.

On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers will face the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals live on ABC at 9 p.m. EST.

The series — just like the entire playoffs — will be played on the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando. No one outside of select members of the teams' friends and family will physically be in attendance, and there will be no traditional home-court advantage for either team.

The Heat, lead by 31-year-old Jimmy Butler, secured their Finals spot by sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the first round, then upsetting the Milwaukee Bucks — who were favored to win the NBA title — in the second round. Miami then made easy work of the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Championship, winning 4-2.

Butler, who is in his first year with the team, has had stand-out performances all throughout the playoffs. But he has had help from a solid supporting cast including Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, who at just 20 years old, is the youngest player in this year's Finals.

This is the first time the Heat have returned to the Finals since losing 4-1 to the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, when Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James were on the team.

The Heat will now face their former star James, who has steered the Lakers to the NBA Finals after the team failed to even make the playoffs a year ago.

With help from costar Anthony Davis, James and the Lakers have only lost three times during the playoff series. Los Angeles defeated the Portland Trailblazers in the first round after losing the opening game of the series. They went on to beat the Houston Rockets in the second round and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Championship, winning each series 4-1.

Tyler Herro

If the Lakers win the championship, it will be the franchise's 17th NBA title — a tie with the Boston Celtics for the most of all time.

For James, winning a title this year would also secure a few of his own milestones. If successful, he will become the third NBA player to win a championship with three different teams (the other two being the Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers). This would also be his fourth overall title, bringing him just two championships shy of tying his idol, Michael Jordan, with six.

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The Heat will be looking to earn the franchise's fourth NBA title, having won their first in 2006 thanks to performances from Wade and Shaquille O'Neal.

While Butler, Herro and Adebayo have never been to the Finals until now, the Heat do have a key player with a wealth of championship experience — especially against James — on their roster.

Andre Iguodala won three championships with the Golden State Warriors in 2015, 2017, and 2018, which all came at the expense of James and the Cavaliers.

Here is the complete schedule for the Finals:

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 30: Miami Heat at L.A. Lakers, 9 EST

Game 2: Friday, Oct. 2: Miami Heat at L.A. Lakers, 9 EST

Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 4: L.A. Lakers at Miami Heat, 7:30 EST

Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 6: L.A. Lakers at Miami Heat, 9 EST

If needed:

Game 5: Friday, Oct. 9: Miami Heat at L.A. Lakers, 9 EST

Game 6: Sunday, Oct. 11: L.A. Lakers at Miami Heat, 7:30 EST

Game 7: Tuesday, Oct. 13: Miami Heat at L.A. Lakers, 9 EST