The Lakers have won the 2019-20 NBA championship.
The win comes in a 106-93 close-out Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on Sunday.
This championship gives LeBron James win his fourth ring and third championship with three different franchises.
It was the third wire-to-wire victory to clinch an NBA title in the past 50 seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, joining the 1982 Lakers and the 1986 Boston Celtics.
After failing to finish out the Heat in Friday’s Game 5 — James’ first loss in a closeout opportunity in his Finals career — Lakers coach Frank Vogel changed the starting lineup, moving Davis to the 5 and plugging in Alex Caruso in Dwight Howard‘s place, for a smaller, shiftier group.
The move seemed to give L.A. a boost as the Lakers led 28-20 after the first quarter and by as many as 30 in the first half, as they outscored Miami 36-16 in the second.
L.A.’s 28-point halftime lead was the second largest in NBA history — just below the 30-point lead the Celtics had on the Lakers in Game 1 of the 1985 Finals. In other words, Memorial Day Massacre, meet the Bubble Bloodbath.
Jimmy Butler, Miami’s fearless leader who pushed L.A. with a 40-point triple-double in a Game 3 win for the Heat and a 35-point triple-double in a Game 5 win, was finally contained, finishing with 12 points on Sunday.
This is the Lakers’ 17th NBA championship, tying the franchise for the most in league history with the Celtics, who most recently won a title in 2008 by defeating a Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles team. The Lakers last raised the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2010 — beating Boston, with Bryant winning Finals MVP.
The championship was historic in many respects. The Lakers became the first team in league history to go undefeated when taking a lead into the fourth quarter, going 57-0 between the regular season and playoffs. They also were the first franchise to earn the No. 1 seed immediately following a five-year postseason absence.
But L.A. also endured the unprecedented scenario of a season restart in an NBA bubble at Walt Disney World to conclude a season stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Los Angeles spent 95 days in the bubble, going 3-5 in the tune-up seeding games before defeating the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets in five games and the Heat in six.
The first-round matchup with the Trail Blazers highlighted the complexities of navigating a title run as social unrest over police brutality pulsed through the country. Many players joined peaceful protests after the killing of George Floyd on May 25, then took more drastic measures following the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Congrats to the Lakers. Kobe would be proud!