The 2020 NBA Championship Series — Lakers and Heat


By Ron Griffitts

Contributing columnist

In September 2020, the Los Angeles Lakers (52-19) coached by Frank Vogel with executive Rob Pelinka and assistant coach Jason Kidd, met the Miami Heat (44-29) coached by Erik Spoelstra and with Pat Riley as their chief executive.

The Lakers got past the Portland Trail Blazers 4-1, the Houston Rockets 4-1 and the Denver Nuggets 4-1 to get to the finals. They were led by LeBron James (25.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 10.2 apg), Anthony Davis (26.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg), Kyle Kuzma (12.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Dwight Howard (7.3 rpg).

The Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers 4-0, the Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 and the Boston Celtics 4-2 to meet the Lakers in the finals. They were led by Jimmy Butler (19.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 6.0 apg), Bam Adebayo (15.9 ppg, 10.2 apg, 5.1 rpg), Duncan Robinson (13.5 ppg), Kendrick Nunn (15.3 ppg), Goran Dragic (16.2 ppg, 5.1 apg) and Tyler Herro (13.5 ppg).

Game one was held in The Arena, Bay Lake, Florida as were all of the games because of the pandemic. The Lakers dominated throughout for a 116-98 win to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

LeBron James contributed 23 points, 9 rebounds and 13 assists and Anthony Davis scored 34 points and pulled down 9 rebounds for the Lakers while Jimmy Butler had 23 points for the Heat.

Game two was closer with Jimmy Butler scoring 25 points, with 13 rebounds and 8 assists, and Kelly Olynyk had 24 points and 9 rebounds for the Heat. But it wasn’t enough as the Lakers took a 2-0 lead in the series with a 124-114 victory.

LeBron led the Lakers with 33 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, Anthony Davis had 32 points and 14 rebounds and Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 10 assists.

For game three, Miami took a 26-23 lead in the first quarter and held on for a 115-104 win behind the a 40 point, 11 rebound, 13 assist performance from Jimmy Butler to give the Heat their first victory of the series. LeBron led Los Angeles with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists.

The Lakers bounced back in game four in a tight game with a 102-96 win behind 28 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists from LeBron James and 22 points and 9 rebounds from Anthony Davis to take a 3-1 advantage in the series.

Jimmy butler with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists and Tyler Herro with 21 points and 7 rebounds led the Heat.

Fighting for survival, the Heat took a 60-56 halftime lead to a 111-108 win to pull within one game of the Lakers behind a another strong game from Jimmy Butler who had 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists and 21 points from Duncan Robinson. LeBron James had another strong game with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists while Anthony Davis had 28 points and 12 rebounds.

In game six, the Lakers took control early and never looked back as they had a 64-36 halftime lead and went on to a 106-93 win in the game and the series.

LeBron led LA with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists while Anthony Davis contributed 19 points and 15 rebounds and Rajon Rondo had 19 points. Bam Adebayo led Miami with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

LeBron James got his fourth NBA finals MVP award. The Lakers haven’t been back to the finals since. The Heat returned to the finals in 2023.

Pat Riley’s long career in basketball started as a college player under coach Adolph Rupp at Kentucky where he spent four years. He continued in the NBA as a player for nine years, was an assistant coach for two years with the Lakers and head coach for 24 years with the Heat, Knicks and Lakers during which time he won five NBA titles. He continued as an executive with the Miami Heat where he is president of the team and has been an executive for 16 years for a grand total of 55 years in college and pro basketball.

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