The NBA Finals starts on Wednesday as Los Angeles takes on Miami is perhaps the most unique championship series in league history. The Lakers are favorited since they have the superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the Heat have proven themselves through teamwork and fearlessness.
It’s sure to be a competitive series as neither team has a significant advantage over the other. Many are taking the Lakers to win, mostly because of James’ greatness, but you can’t count out a Miami bunch that has repeatedly overcome expectations.
Miami has a good chance, but it’ll take a consistently-superb play from them to overcome the talent gap. Here are five reasons the Heat can upset the Lakers, all of which will factor into the series in one way or another.
5. Bam Adebayo Can Contain Anthony Davis
No one player can stop Davis from getting his points. Sometimes, Davis himself lets teams off the hook by not being aggressive offensively for all four quarters, but he’s slowly improving this part of his game as the playoffs go on.
Whether or not Davis decides to take over games, Adebayo is the best defender Davis has faced all postseason. Adebayo was Second-Team All-Defensive this season after proving to be one of the most versatile centers in basketball, so Davis should have his hands full when Miami is in man-to-man.
Adebayo has the length, strength and athleticism to counteract Davis’ offensive arsenal, but he won’t be able to do it for an entire game. But the Heat play great defense as a whole, so Davis will surely have to navigate through several defensive schemes featuring Adebayo.
Although L.A.’s supporting cast has played better of late, the team’s roster, aside from James and Davis, is far older and worse than Miami’s top-8 players.
The Heat currently have six players averaging double-digit points in the playoffs while the Lakers barely have three. Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk are two bench players who haven’t been scoring much, yet both of them are capable of catching fire from behind the arc or playing well in short bursts.