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Lakers vs. Heat: NBA Finals predictions from the L.A. Times

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The Los Angeles Lakers are back in the NBA Finals for the first time since Kobe Bryant led the franchise to its 16th title. Los Angeles Times sportswriters Tania Ganguli, Broderick Turner and Dan Woike discuss the Lakers’ chances to bring home the championship.

When the Lakers tip off against Miami on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, they will be a big favorite to win the championship.

Some predict in dominating fashion.

As Times columnist Bill Plaschke notes of the Heat: “They’re a sweet little story … but in this case, Cinderella gets bludgeoned.”

Here are the predictions from some Times staff members:

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Bill Plaschke: Face it, the Lakers could beat a team of Miami Heat and Boston Celtics players combined. Left to battle the Lakers on their own, the sweet little Heat will quickly wither. They’re a sweet little story, and everyone outside of Los Angeles will be cheering for them, but in this case, Cinderella gets bludgeoned. For all their nice players — the Jimmy Butlers, Bam Adebayos and Tyler Herros of the world — they have no match for LeBron James, no counter to Anthony Davis, and no answer for the suffocating Lakers defense. The great Pat Riley isn’t coaching, and the Heat aren’t winning. LAKERS IN 4

Helene Elliott: Dwight Howard will get in foul trouble in one game and Duncan Robinson will go on a couple of three-point sprees, but a committed LeBron James and a committed Anthony Davis will overcome all challenges. LAKERS IN 5

The Los Angeles Lakers play the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals beginning Wednesday night. Here is the L.A. Times’ preview coverage.

Broderick Turner: The Lakers have been through too much — from the geopolitical fallout in China to Kobe Bryant’s tragic death to the COVID-19 pandemic — for them not to claim the franchise’s 17th title. And for LeBron James to cement his legacy among the Lakers’ faithful, he needs to win his fourth title while wearing the purple and gold. In every game, expect the Heat to be committed to putting up a fight, but Miami just doesn’t have enough firepower. LAKERS IN 5

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Dan Woike: Miami’s zone and the Lakers’ spotty jump shooting are good enough reasons to think that the Heat will give the Lakers problems. Event though Miami has a lot of talent, the Lakers have the best talent — LeBron James and Anthony Davis — and it’s hard to see how those two players will allow the Lakers to lose four times. LAKERS IN 6

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