NBAE via Getty Images
The Los Angeles Lakers were able to come away with the championship in a six game thriller against the Miami Heat. This was a classic series that will go down in history with nail-biting last second buzzer-beaters, misplays that cost both teams wins, and everything else in between. Cinco Basketball coaches Coach King and Coach Barnes talked about how they looked at the finals.
“It cannot be ignored the impact injuries had on the Miami Heat,” King said. “The Lakers were still responsible for competing to win against the team/players on the court. Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo missing a pivotal game set the tone for the series. Role players Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the Lakers stepped up big as well in key moments.”
Barnes gave more credit to the Lakers. They averaged 6.8 steals and 4.3 blocks, much higher than the Heat’s 5.5 and 3.2, respectively.
“ [The Lakers] defense was able to get timely stops,” Barnes said. “They played good half court defense to smother Miami’s shielders, and cut down on their three point making ability.”
Lebron James won the MVP of the series, averaging 29.8 points, 8.5 assists, and 11.8 rebounds in the finals. However, the coaches don’t think that was the only thing that helped him win.
“The value he adds to the Lakers not only impacts the offense and defense, but what he brings in the locker room and team culture,” King said. “His production on the court is hard to ignore, but as a coach, the impact he has on a team as a leader is what makes him one of the most valuable players in the league.”
Barnes agrees with King on this one. His on court presence certainly caused the Heat problems.
“He capitalized off of the last game with a triple-double,” Barnes said. “That speaks for itself and his talent.”
As for the player who outperformed their expectations, both of them had the same opinion, but to different extents. Averaging 26.2 points, 9.8 assists, and 8.3 rebounds this finals from his 19.9 points, 6 assists, and 6.7 rebounds in the regular season, both coaches said Jimmy Butler stepped up when the Heat needed him most.
“While it is known Jimmy Butler can be a Star Player, his performance in the finals showed that he is ready for the big moment,” King said. “He single-handedly tried to [get] his
team to a championship.”
Barnes thought Butler did so good it elevated how the league saw him.
“Jimmy Butler [overperformed this series],” Barnes said. “[This series] put him up with the elite status of wing players, two way players, offensively and defensively. He showed that he could score with the best of them and defend with the best of them…If Miami could have won, Jimmy Butler would have been MVP.”
However, the coaches differed in their critiques of the two teams.
“I would say it was more a team under-performance.” King said. “The Miami Heat failed to have a 2nd player consistently step-up with Jimmy Butler. The clear advantage for the Lakers was role players for the Lakers out-performed the Heat role players.”
Barnes thought someone from the winning team underperformed. Although his stats were the same as they were in the regular season, he picked Anthony Davis.
“I feel like Anthony Davis underperformed,” Barnes said. “He probably could be the most talented player on the court just based on what he could do at his size,[which includes the ability] to be able to create shots, make shots, defend, rebound, block shots, and assist.”
All of these things led to the Lakers getting a decisive victory against the Heat. Although Butler tried his best to get them to a game 7, James was able to stop them, further solidifying his status as one of the best players to play. With free agency right around the corner, we can see how both teams will try to upgrade their rosters for next season.