2020 NBA Finals will feature a first time matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat.
Despite never facing each other in the Finals, there is a ton of history between these two franchises. Lakers are 37-27 all-time vs Heat
For the 9th time in the last 10 years, Lebron James is in the NBA Finals. It’s his 10th overall (3-6 record) appearance in 17 seasons.
Lebron appeared in the Finals for 4 straight years from 2011-2014 with the Miami Heat, winning his first championship in 2012 and a second one in 2013.
After missing the playoffs in 2019 (for just the third time in his career), he returns to the Finals with his third different team.
Lakers – Riley won an NBA title in 1972 as a player for the Lakers and was an assistant coach for the 1980 championship team. He was the head coach for 4 championships in the ’80s – 1982 1985, 1987, 1988.
Heat – Coached Miami to the franchise’s first NBA title in 2006, with Dwyane Wade and Shaq. As an executive, he was the architect of the “Big Three” featuring Lebron pairing up with Wade and Chris Bosh and winning 2 more titles. In total, Riley had been part of all 6 Heat Finals teams.
Kobe and Lebron overlapped in the NBA for 13 seasons and never faced each other in the Finals even though they were in opposite conferences. At least one them reached the Finals in 11 of 13 seasons.
Both Lakers and Heat missed the playoffs in 2019.
As many hoped, 2020 Finals features Antetokounmpo vs Leonard (Kostas vs Meyers, not Giannis vs Kawhi).
The most recent #1 overall pick to win an NBA Finals is Andrew Bogut, who was drafted in 2005 and won in 2015. Anthony Davis (#1 in 2012) has a chance to change that.
Lebron vs Iggy part 5. 2015-2018 saw Cavs vs Warriors four straight times, which included Lebron vs Andre Iguodala 4 straight times. Now, this will be the 5th time they are opposing each other.
Iguodala or the Heat have made each of the last 10 Finals.
Danny Green is facing the Heat in the Finals for the third time in his career. With the Spurs, he lost in 2013 and won in 2014 (against Lebron).
Dion Waiters played 123 games (starting 101) in 3+ seasons with the Heat, before being released earlier this season. He was signed by the Lakers before the shutdown of the regular season and has played 38 minutes in the playoffs.
Heat forward Jae Crowder was traded from the Mavs to the Celtics in 2014 for current Lakers guard Rajon Rondo.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel, who previously coached the Indiana Pacers, is 0-3 all-time vs Heat in playoff series.
Big Blue Nation – Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo battle Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro in the matchup of Kentucky Wildcats alums.
Heat won their first NBA title in 2006, after acquiring Shaquille O’Neal from the Lakers in the summer of 2004. Heat traded young rising stars Caron Butler and Lamar Odom, plus Brian Grant and a future first round pick (Jordan Farmar in 2006) for Shaq.
For the Heat, the Shaq and Wade duo was a huge success because they won the NBA title. Lakers would go on to win two more without him in 2009 and 2010.
As a 37 year old, Shaq join Lebron in Cleveland in 2009-10, but they were unable to reach the Final together. His final NBA season was 2010-11 as a member of the Celtics, where his final game was against Lebron and the Heat (en route to them making the NBA Finals).