L.A. fans celebrating the championship
Times reporter Steve Saldivar was out and about Los Angeles during the Lakers’ Game 6 win. Here is some of what he saw.
Time to party like it’s 2010
Now let’s have some fun.
Times reporter Dan Woike gets a front-row look at the Lakers’ backstage celebration.
During normal years, media members are often allowed in the locker room for the champagne-soaked celebration. However, that access is not allowed during the pandemic. Good thing we have J.R. Smith’s social media accounts.
The Lakers won their 16th NBA title in 2010 with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol leading the way.
LeBron and Co. bring back Lakers glory days
Through the darkness and drama, the questions about whether the Lakers’ luster was gone forever, remained the hope that a day like this would happen again.
The Lakers are NBA champions for the 17th time.
This time they did it in a gym shaped like Mickey Mouse with two superstars who came to resuscitate the franchise. As Anthony Davis and LeBron James achieved their goal, they could hardly believe it. James followed Davis into the back of the arena where no one could see them. They emerged with James’ arms around Davis’s shoudlers, the two of them bouncing and grining.
At the end of a strange, heartbreaking season — the longest NBA season ever — James won his fourth championship. He notched a triple double in the clinching game.
The LeBron James Era started with losses and the first serious injury of his career. Magic Johnson’s resignation in the spring of 2019 caught him by surprise, and his patience was tested by a group of 20-somethings who wanted to impress him but didn’t know how.
The Lakers missed the playoffs for an unthinkable seventh consecutive year.
The reset in the summer of 2019 wasn’t smooth or painless, but it set the stage for a major recovery. It gave James the co-star he had yearned for — publicly at times. Anthony Davis
This adage had stopped being true in the NBA: what the Lakers want the Lakers get.
Kobe Bryant’s spirit hovers over Lakers’ 17th title
From the heavens, they were touched.
To the heavens, they have soared.
On the wings of the fallen Kobe Bryant and the prayers of a restless city, the Lakers have once again reached basketball’s glorious peak.
At AdventHealth Arena near Orlando, Fla., on Sunday night, Los Angeles’ most beloved sports franchise ended a decade-long drought by defeating the Miami Heat, 106-93, to capture its 17th NBA championship.
The clinching blowout, in which the overmatched Heat were quickly swarmed and suffocated, gave the Lakers a four-games-to-two victory in an NBA Finals that ended in exhausted hugs and bold proclamations.
With the 17 titles — a dozen which were won in Los Angeles — the Lakers have finally equaled the number won by the hated Boston Celtics and thus can claim at least a share of the title of greatest NBA franchise ever.
By becoming the first player to win the NBA Finals MVP award with three different franchises — while winning his fourth title overall — the Lakers’ LeBron James can surely claim at least a share of the title with Michael Jordan as greatest player ever.
Bill Russell congratulates LeBron James on winning Finals MVP
Bill Russell is usually on hand to award the Finals MVP trophy that bears his name, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the legend wasn’t able to attend Game 6 on Sunday to hand it to LeBron James in person.
Russell instead extended his congratulations to James on social media.
Magic Johnson was also happy to celebrate James’ award.
Put some respect on his name: LeBron James named NBA Finals MVP
No surprise here.
LeBron James was selected NBA Finals MVP after leading the Lakers to the franchise’s 17th championship. James scored 28 points with 14 rebounds and 10 assists in Sunday’s Game 6.
“It means a lot,” James said on the ABC broadcast of winning the championship. “It means a lot to represent this franchise. I told Jeanie when I came here that I was going to put this franchise back to where it belongs.”
“We just want our respect,” James continued, singling out his team, his coach and his teammates. “And I want my damn respect.”
LeBron James and Jeanie Buss celebrate Lakers championship together
Times Lakers reporter Tania Ganugli caught a glimpse of LeBron James and co-owner Jeanie Buss celebrating the Lakers’ championship together on the court. James and Buss shared a long hug before the trophy ceremony.
Get a glimpse of the Lakers on-court celebration
Times reporters Dan Woike and Brad Turner have the behind-the-bubble view of the Lakers’ championship celebration on the court.
Lakers win lucky No. 17
The Lakers left no doubt tonight.
Behind a 28-point, 14-rebound, 10-assist triple-double from LeBron James, the Lakers won their first championship since 2010 with a 106-93 beatdown of the Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
James claimed his fourth championship with his third team.
Anthony Davis 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Head coach Frank Vogel made a change to the starting lineup, putting Alex Caruso in for Dwight Howard and moving Davis to center. The forward responded by anchoring a Lakers gem as they limited the Heat, who were averaging more than 100 points a game in this series, to 43.6% shooting from the field.
Jimmy Butler, who saved the Heat in Game 5, scored just 12 points with seven rebounds and eight assists.
Lakers empty bench with 87 seconds left until championship
The Lakers cleaned their bench with a 103-86 lead with 1:27 remaining.
LeBron James left the game with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists and Anthony Davis will join him with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Lakers bench keeps energy high in bubble
With no fans in the bubble, teams have relied on their benches for energy during a difficult restart in Orlando. The Lakers bench has been in top form tonight as the team played for a title.
The Lakers lead 97-75 wth 4:14 left in Game 6. LeBron James has 22 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. He also has no turnovers.
Anthony Davis has 19 points and 14 rebounds while Rajon Rondo has 19 points and four assists off the bench on eight-of-10 shooting from the field.
LeBron James notches triple-double as Lakers close in on championship
LeBron James has a 19-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double with the Lakers up 94-69 with 6:43 remaining. It’s James’ 11th triple-double in the NBA Finals.
The most important stat for James, however, would be his fourth NBA championship, which is coming into focus tonight.
It will be the Lakers’ 17th title in franchise history, it’s 12th in L.A.
Lakers call timeout as Heat cut into lead
After an 11-3 Miami run to begin the fourth quarter, the Lakers call a timeout ahead 90-69 with 8:37 remaining. The Lakers’ 36-point lead has been cut to 21 as Bam Adebayo now has 21 points for the Heat.
The Heat have made four straight shots as Danny Green’s three-pointer is the only Lakers basket of the fourth quarter.
Heat start fourth quarter well as Lakers still lead big
The Heat scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, but the Lakers still have a comfortable 87-65 lead with 9:35 remaining.
The Lakers are closing in on their 17th championship and first since 2010.
Only 12 minutes left to Lakers’ 17th title
The Lakers lead 87-58 at the end of three quarters with just one 12-minute quarter standing between them and the franchise’s 17th title.
LeBron James is just one assist shy of a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Rajon Rondo has 19 points in 22 minutes with four rebounds and three assists. The backup point guard is eight-of-nine shooting from the floor.
Anthony Davis has 15 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers’ defensive anchor. Miami is shooting just 36.8% from the field, a slight improvement from their 33.3% halftime clip.
Make way for The King
LeBron James isn’t letting up, even with a 30-point lead.
James drove aggressively to the basket for a one-handed dunk off a pass from Alex Caruso for James’ 18th and 19th points of the night.
The Lakers lead 84-54 with 1:25 reamining in the third quarter.
Get the champagne ready
The Lakers have stretched their lead even further, burying the Heat 79-46 with 4:10 left in the third quarter with a jumper from LeBron James.
James has 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Anthony Davis has 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
The Heat are still shooting 33.3% from the field with 11 turnovers. Bam Adebayo is the only Heat player with in double figures with 15 points and seven rebounds. Jimmy BUtler has eight points, six rebounds and six assists.
Lakers up big in third quarter
The Lakers have not slowed down in the second half, leading 71-43 with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter.
LeBron James has 15 points and 10 rebounds with six assists. Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each have 15 points. Davis just picked up his fourth foul.
The Lakers have led by as many as 32 points.
Lakers defense drawing raves after one half
The Lakers are dominating with defense in Game 6, leading 64-36 starting the third quarter.
Lakers legend James Worthy is impressed with what he’s seen from his former team.
Key stats as Lakers are one half away from championship
The Lakers are up big on the scoreboard, leading 64-36 at halftime, and dominating the stat sheet in almost every column. Here’s a look at key numbers:
- 14 fastbreak points for the Lakers compared to zero for the Heat
- 34 Lakers points in the paint, which is just two fewer points than the Heat’s scoring total
- 54.2% shooting for the Lakers compred to Miami’s 34.2%
- 7 missed free throws for the Heat after they missed just 12 in the first five games combined
- 9 Miami turnovers
- 15 points for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on five-of-10 shooting
- 15 points for Anthony Davis with five rebunds and two blocks
- 11 points for LeBron James, nine assists and six rebounds
- 13 points for Rajon Rondo off the bench with four rebounds and two assists
- 8 points for Jimmy Butler, with five rebounds and five assists
Here’s the biggest number though: 24 minutes left until a championship.
Lakers open up second-largest halftime lead in NBA Finals history
How’s that for a statement?
The Lakers dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Heat by 20 and taking a 64-36 lead at halftime of Game 6 on Sunday night.
The Lakers suffocated Miami on defense and dominated on offense, shooting 55.3% compared to Miami’s 32.4%. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Anthony Davis each have 15 points. LeBron James has 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
The 28-point edge is the second-largest halftime lead in NBA Finals history.
The biggest? The Memorial Day Massacre in 1985 when the Boston Celtics lead the Lakers 79-49 at halftime on the way to a 148-114 win.
Lakers winning big with bully ball
The Lakers have a 58-34 lead with 1:52 left in the second quarter as they are asserting their dominance inside.
The Lakers have as many points in the paint as the Heat have points total.
Anthony Davis has 15 of those paint points as well as three rebounds and one block.
LeBron James has 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scores with circus shot
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has seven points, including a high-arching circus shot, as the Lakers lead 51-34 with 2:57 remaining in the first half.
The play came off an Anthony Davis block on the other end, which led to the Lakers breakout.
Lakers lead by 15 points in second quarter
The Lakers are letting their defense speak for itself as they lead the Heat 42-27 with 6:16 remaining in the second quarter.
The Heat are shooting 33.3% from the field with seven turnovers. Miami hasn’t shot worse than 42.7% from the field this series.
After scoring easy points off free throws in the previous Finals games, the Heat are just five of nine from the free-throw line tonight. Jimmy Butler, who was a perfect 12 of 12 on free throws in Game 5, has just six points, including one-of-two free-throw shooting.
LeBron James and Rajon Rondo lead the Lakers with 11 points each. James also has six rebonds and three assists.
Lakers defense suffocating Heat
The Lakers lead 40-27 with 7:08 left in the second quarter.
Miami is shooting 36% from the field with seven turnovers.
LeBron James appeared to hurt his hip after a collision with Goran Dragic left him on the ground. James was holding his left hip while getting up sllowly, but stayed in the game.
Playoff Rondo is back; Lakers lead by a dozen
Rajon Rondo already has nine points in seven minutes off the bench as the Lakers lead 35-23 with 10:00 remaining in the second quarter.
Rondo also has one assist and one rebound.
The Lakers have 22 points in the paint as Rondo and LeBron James are attacking the rim. Rondo scored his first six points off layups. James drove to the basket to put the Lakers up by 12. James has 11 points, six rebounds and three assists.
The Lakers held the Heat to 20 points in the first quarter, Miami’s lowest first-quarter total this series.
Lakers lead the Heat after first quarter
The Lakers lead the Heat 28-20 after the first quarter of Game 6.
LeBron James has nine points, five rebounds and three assists to lead the Lakers. Anthony Davis, hampered by two early fouls, has eight points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Duncan Robinson leads the Heat with six points. Jimmy Butler, being guarded by James, has three points and two assists.
While turnovers plagued the Lakers earlier this series, it’s the Heat struggling with ball security tonight as they have six turnovers compared to three for the Lakers.
Anthony Davis picks up second foul in first quarter
Anthony Davis already has two fouls as the Lakers lead 28-20 with 58.2 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Davis has eight points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Activate Goran Dragic
Enter the Dragon.
Turns out the Heat didn’t activate Goran Dragic just so he could avoid having to wear a mask on the sideline.
The Heat guard checked into Game 6, with the Lakers up 25-19 with 1:09 remaining in the first quarter. It was Dragic’s first appearance since injuring his foot in Game 1.
Heat inch closer as LeBron James rests
The Heat went on a 5-0 run after a first-quarter media timeout to tie the score at 13-13 and now trail 17-16 with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter after a three-pointer from Kendrick Nunn.
LeBron James, taking a normal first-quarter rest now, still has eight points, four rebounds and two assists.
While he is on the bench, he is still engaged in the game, discussing defensive breakdowns with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Lakers lead early in first quarter
LeBron James has six points and four rebuonds as the Lakers lead 13-8 with 6:18 remaining in the first quarter.
Four of the five Lakers starters have scored with Alex Caruso, who started in place of Dwight Howard, the exception, although he has one assist and one block.
Duncan Robinson is picking up right where he left off from Game 5, making two of his first three three-pointers. Robinson had 26 points on Friday and has six so for tonight.
LeBron James and Jimmy Butler match up early
After an epic shootout in Game 5, LeBron James and Jimmy Butler will battle again in Game 6 as James set the tone early by picking up Butler on defense.
Butler had 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in Game 5.
The Lakers lead 4-2 with 9:56 to go in the first after a breakaway dunk from James.
Lakers go for Title No. 17. Again.
Let’s try this again.
Game 6 just tipped off and the Lakers, up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series on the Heat, will again try to secure their 17th title in franchise history and first since 2010.
With Alex Caruso in the starting lineup, Anthony Davis is playing center for the Lakers to start.
Davis, who is playing Sunday with a heel bruise, has previously shied away from the center position for the Lakers, but often accepts the challenge late in games during close-out situations.
Considering the stakes of Sunday’s game, it seems the Lakers are hoping to tap into their “winning time” mind-sets early.
Goran Dragic warms up with Heat
Goran Dragic is participating in warmups with the Heat after the guard was upgraded to “active” for Game 6. He hasn’t played since the opening game of the Finals due to a foot injury. He is officially listed as “doubtful” on the injury report.
Times reporters Brad Turner and Dan Woike also have the view of Lakers warmups before Game 6.
Alex Caruso replaces Dwight Howard in Lakers’ starting lineup
Alex Caruso is making his first playoff start in the biggest moment of the season.
Caruso will replace Dwight Howard in the Lakers’ starting lineup for Game 6. Caruso will start alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Caruso is averaging 6.8 points and 2.4 rebounds off the bench in the Finals.
The Heat will roll out its familiar starting group with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, Jae Crowder and rookie Tyler Herro. Robinson scored 26 points in Game 5 to back up Butler’s 35-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist triple-double.
Heat’s Goran Dragic is active for Game 6, but still doubtful
Heat guard Gordan Dragic will be “active” for Game 6, according to Miami Herald reporter Anthony Chiang, after missing the previous four games because of a foot injury he sustained in Game 1. Dragic is still officially listed as “doubtful” on the injury report.
It’s unlikely that Dragic, who suffered a torn planter fascia in his left foot, will play Sunday despite the status change. Earlier this series, the Heat listed Bam Adebayo as an active player despite the big man battling a neck/shoulder injury. The only perk for Adebayo was that he could be on the bench and speak to teammates without a mask.
Anthony Davis will play through heel soreness
Anthony Davis re-aggravated a right heel injury in Game 5 and is expected to play through the injury tonight as the Lakers try to clinch the championship again.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters, including Times’ Lakers beat reporter Tania Ganguli, that Davis will “have some soreness” due to the heel bruise, but the team is hoping a jolt of Finals adrenaline will cover up the pain.
Davis, who went to the court in pain after a collision in the first quarter of Game 5, scored 28 points with 12 rebounds and three blocks in Friday’s loss. He was seen limping across the court late in the game.
The Times’ Brad Turner caught a glimpse of Davis warming up Sunday.
Danny Green receives death threats because of missed three-pointer
Danny Green has been active on social media during his career, often using the medium to promote his podcast and engage with fans directly.
But this weekend, after Green missed a potentially championship-winning shot in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, some on social media channels turned against him, going so far as to make death threats. His fiancée, who is also active on social media, has seen more of those threats than he has.
“I had to ask, are you getting death threats?” Green said. “And she said, yeah, you are too, and I was like, I don’t know, because I don’t really pay attention or care. Nor am I upset, shaken or worried about it. I’m just not one of those types of people. ...
“I’m usually protected. I’m usually safe. I’m usually OK, and confident and secure in my own mind in my own home. But if something does come up, I’m sure it’ll come my way. She’ll figure it out, she’ll find it, or we’ll see it. But it’s a basketball game. People are emotional, fans are emotional. I hope they don’t take it that seriously. I hope they are that passionate about voting or getting justice for these people who deserve justice or get some better change along in the country.”
How the X-factors could impact the NBA Finals
The way he walked onto and off the postgame stage, the way he’s piled up minutes like he’s forming a mountain, the way he’s imprinted the series with his personality and will, it might seem like Jimmy Butler is going it alone.
“It’s not just me,” Butler said.
In the NBA Finals, you can assume the stars are going to do their thing, that LeBron James is going to dominate, Anthony Davis is going to disrupt on both ends and Butler is going to pour his energy all over the court.
Critical calls draw criticism from Lakers coach Frank Vogel
It has become such a rite of passage in NBA lore for the losing team to complain about fouls that lead to free throws, a cause taken up to draw attention to the issue.
And so it was for the Lakers after losing Game 5 of the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat on Friday night, with coach Frank Vogel expressing his displeasure with two calls that went against his team when the outcome hung in the balance and that both times led to Jimmy Butler shooting free throws.
The Lakers had a one-point lead when Markieff Morris was called for fouling Butler with 46.7 seconds left. Butler made both to give the Heat a one-point lead.
The Lakers had recaptured the lead, going up 108-107. But on Miami’s next possession, Anthony Davis was called for a foul on Butler, who made both free throws for a 109-108 Heat lead with 16.8 seconds left his team never surrendered again.
“I felt two bad calls at the end put Butler to the line,” Vogel said after his team saw its lead in the best-of-seven series trimmed to 3-2. “That’s unfortunate in a game of this magnitude. Anthony Davis has a perfect verticality. That should be a play-on. And the time before that, Markieff Morris has his hand on the ball. That should be a play-on.”
Heat, Lakers can relate to ‘man in the arena’ speech
There is a piece of a speech by Theodore Roosevelt that really resonates with LeBron James. In it, Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. president, spoke of the “man who is actually in the arena,” the one who does the work, who risks failure and is more worthy than the “critic.”
On Thursday afternoon, a day before the Lakers faced Miami in what many thought would be the clinching NBA Finals game for their 17th championship, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra referenced the speech.
“I know the character of our group, and we are still very much committed to what our purpose is and look forward to the competition tomorrow,” Spoelstra said. “Whatever the story lines that are out there, we don’t care. Our guys are the ones who are out there in the arena marred by dust, blood, sweat and tears. Our guys are the ones out there. Twenty-eight other teams aren’t out there. Everybody else is basically on their comfortable couches spectating on this one. Our guys are the ones that are in the arena, and that’s right where they are meant to be.”
On Friday night, Miami took Game 5 of the NBA Finals to stave off elimination for at least one more day. The Heat will face another elimination game Sunday as the Lakers take their second shot at winning their first championship since 2010. With a 3-2 lead in the series, and a track record of bouncing back from losses, the Lakers feel confident in their ability to recover from Friday’s setback.
James is playing in his 10th Finals. Roosevelt‘s “man in the arena” speech has been with him since at least the season of his second Finals appearance. That came as a member of the Heat, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that James had the quote in his locker for the entire 2010-11 season.
The speech, “Citizenship in a Republic”, was delivered by Roosevelt at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1910.