Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers Live: The 2020 NBA Finals are officially set, and for the first time the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat will square off for a chance to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy. This is the first Finals appearance for the Lakers since 2010, when they were led by Kobe Bryant. The Heat are back for the first time since 2014 when Lakers superstar LeBron James was Miami’s top option.
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NBA Finals Game 1 Information
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 30
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Odds (via FanDuel): Los Angeles -4.5
With three rounds of playoff hoops in the books, only the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat remain in pursuit of the 2020 NBA title. The Lakers knocked out all three of their postseason matchups by 4-1 counts, while each Heat series lasted one game longer than the last (sweep of the Indiana Pacers, 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks and finally a 4-2 triumph over the Boston Celtics).
The storylines are delectable, starting with the connections between the Lakers’ biggest star, LeBron James, and the Heat organization. James captured his first two championships and made four straight Finals appearances after joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami during the 2010 offseason. Heat president Pat Riley assembled that roster, and Heat skipper Erik Spoelstra coached it.
More than two months after 22 teams arrived at the NBA bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Florida, there are only two remaining—the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. And at some point during the next two weeks, one of them will win the NBA title.
The NBA Finals are set to get underway Wednesday night as Los Angeles and Miami face off for the first time in the postseason. The Lakers reached this point by winning each of first three series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets in five games, while the Heat have defeated the Indiana Pacers (in four games), the Milwaukee Bucks (five) and the Boston Celtics (six).
Now, each of these teams is looking to get four more wins to end this unorthodox season by celebrating a championship. The Lakers hope to win their record-tying 17th NBA title (and first since 2010), while the Heat are looking to win their fourth (and first since 2013).
While the Heat have played well throughout the playoffs, they’ll now face their greatest challenge yet. The Lakers are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and they have a superstar duo in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Before keying you in on where to look to dissect these teams, let’s start with where you shouldn’t: the regular season.
Yes, the Lakers had a better winning percentage (.732 to .603) and a higher net efficiency rating (plus-5.6 to plus-2.7). And yes, the Lakers swept the season series 2-0.
Those things shouldn’t be discarded—they play a factor in L.A. being a clear favorite, but regular-season performance has never felt less relevant given the unique nature of these Finals. Simply put, the Heat have been a different team since relocating to the bubble—and they’re a different squad than the Lakers beat twice before the calendar flipped to 2020.
Narrowing the lens to the bubble puts these clubs in much closer proximity. Both went 12-3 through the first three rounds, and while L.A. had the postseason’s best net rating, Miami was only two spots behind.