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The Gavel's 2020 NBA Finals Predictions

The 2019-2020 NBA “Bubble” Season is finally coming to an end after a tumultuous year. The league has avoided COVID-19 scares to produce a phenomenal close-out to the season. 

Starting on Wednesday, Sept. 30, the NBA Finals will begin with a must-watch matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat.

The Lakers—led by the star-studded duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis—have had their way with every opponent this postseason, with no series going beyond five games. The Heat, on the other hand, have surprised almost everyone by upsetting the No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks and No. 3 Boston Celtics in consecutive series. They’ve been led by the outstanding play of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro. 

We’ve been waiting for this series and now, we finally get to reap the benefits. Your Gavelers give their predictions for this exciting matchup: 

Corbin Bernal: This matchup will be exciting to watch—LeBron James is playing his best basketball during year 17 of his career, and Miami is a hard-working defensive team that plays as a collective unit with anyone capable of taking over offensively. As much as I want to see this Miami core (with the likes of Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Goran Dragic) succeed and win a title in Miami, you simply can’t bet against LeBron James right now. After finishing second in MVP voting behind Giannis, with a record and stats worthy of an MVP trophy, it just puts an extra incentive for him to win his 4th title in his 10th appearance. Along with Anthony Davis playing terrific basketball, being trustworthy in clutch moments, and having a competent supporting cast around him, LeBron seems destined for a championship ring. 

Prediction: Lakers in 6

Finals MVP: LeBron James 

Joe Birdsall: The Lakers may have the high-end talent, but Miami feels like a team of destiny after a dominant postseason run. Erik Spoelstra knows how to scheme against LeBron James after coaching him for years, and Bam Adebayo presents a tough matchup for Anthony Davis. Combine that with Miami's cadre of three-point shooters, and an unlikely title feels possible.

Prediction: Heat in 7

Finals MVP: Bam Adebayo 

Matt DeMerlis: The Heat are incredibly talented from top to bottom, and they have the spacing and shooting to create mismatches for the Lakers. I mean, the starting lineup led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo is absolutely lethal, and defensively, both can guard the Laker’s top-heavy lineup led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Still, give me the Lakers to win it all. This is the moment LeBron has waited for since he joined LA and he’s not going to take it lightly. He and AD have a solid-enough supporting cast around them that will make stops and get shots when they need it. I never bet against LeBron and I won’t do it here. 

Prediction: Lakers in 7

Finals MVP: Anthony Davis 

Sean Rietzke: The Heat are balanced across the board, and Spoelstra’s zone could give the Lakers trouble by daring their inconsistent outside shooters to hit threes. Miami will keep each game close with their pair of snipers in Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson and rotation of athletic wings to throw at LeBron, but at the end of the day, the King and the Brow are simply too talented to be slowed down by this young Miami team. LeBron wins Finals MVP as LA’s go-to scorer in crunch time.

Prediction: Lakers in 6

Finals MVP: LeBron James

Jake McNeill: Jimmy Butler is one of the best ceiling-raisers in the NBA. As we have seen time and time again, he makes everyone around him better everywhere he goes—whether they like it or not. For this reason, the Heat will be able to give the Lakers more trouble than most people expect. Still, Anthony Davis and LeBron might be the most talented duo since Shaq and Kobe. With Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo playing like it’s 2010 again, the Lakers will win this series in 6.

Prediction: Lakers in 6

Finals MVP: Anthony Davis 

Matt Killian: The Heat have too many great scorers to get completely run over, but LeBron and company will prove to be too much for them to handle. 

Prediction: Lakers in 6

Finals MVP: LeBron James

Brennan Rietzke: The Lakers will beat the Miami Heat because of the dilemma Miami faces defensively. If Miami plays man defense, LeBron will target Herro and Dragic through Anthony Davis pick-and-rolls, and punish the Heat on drives. If Miami plays zone defense, Davis, Howard, and McGee will feast on the glass and rack up second-chance points. The only way I see Miami winning is if they are scorching hot from the three-point line throughout the series, but unfortunately the Lakers have the defense personnel on the perimeter to slow them. 

Prediction: Lakers in 5

Finals MVP: LeBron James

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