The NBA Finals will pit the widely favored Los Angeles Lakers against Team Cinderella, the Miami Heat.
The first game will take place on Wednesday at 9 p.m. (RDS, TSN and ABC).
Here’s a look at the forces at play, first on the Lakers side.
LeBron James is in his 10e final, including titles with Miami in 2012 and 2013, and with his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in 2016.
At 35, he wants to add a jewel of luxury to his crown: a championship with the Lakers, one of the most famous and prestigious clubs in NBA history.
He is in his second season with the Lakers. Before 2020, they had not made the playoffs since 2013.
James is doing his big part in the playoffs averaging 26.7 points per game this year.
Anthony Davis provides even more (28.8); before being traded to the Lakers in July 2019, he played his first seven seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Youngsters Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso make good contributions to Frank Vogel’s group.
Veterans Rajon Rondo and Danny Green won an NBA title with Boston in 2008 and Toronto in 2019, respectively.
Vogel is in his first year in office. This is his ninth season at the helm, however, including stints in Indiana and Orlando.
With the Heat, Jimmy Butler finally has his chance in the final round, in his 10e campaign in the circuit.
He and Slovenian Goran Dragic are an impact duo with around 20 points per game, on average.
Bam Adebayo, who blamed himself for the loss in Game 5 against Boston in the Eastern Final, rebounded with 32 points in the win that sidelined the Celtics.
He can shine in just about every aspect of the game.
“He’s not showing his talent now, he’s a star player already,” Vogel said on video conference Monday. I rubbed shoulders with him a bit during the weekend of the stars (in February). He’s very talented, but he’s also a great young man.
“He fits the new profile of an NBA center wonderfully. Its versatility is remarkable. He can do anything. He is one of the big reasons for their success. “
Tyler Herro stunned Boston with 37 points in Game 4. The rookie also had 11 points in the final quarter in Game 6.
Duncan Robinson had 20, 18 and 15 point games in the Eastern Finals.
Andre Iguodala helped Golden State win the Larry O’Brien Trophy three times.
In the last game against the Celtics, he had 15 points, including a 4-for-4 record for three-pointers.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra has led the Heat since April 2008. He succeeded Pat Riley, who has served as Heat president since 1995.
In the regular season, the Heat finished fifth in the East with a 44-29 record; This marks the first time a fifth-ranked team has advanced to the NBA Finals.
“They can beat you in a number of ways,” Vogel said. They shoot well, they are tough and they are extremely well directed.
“I have enormous respect for ‘Spo’. We’re going to have to do our best to beat them. “
The Lakers led the West with a 52-19 performance.