NBA Finals 2020: Odds, Complete TV Schedule for Championship Series

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) and LeBron James (23) shake hands in the final moments of their 114-108 win over the Denver Nuggets in an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

There's always an interesting storyline or two between the two teams that make it to the NBA Finals, and this year's matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat is no different.

LeBron James won his first championship as a member of the Heat and now finds himself trying to bring the Lakers their first title since 2010, when Kobe Bryant led them to the second of back-to-back titles.

Miami's team president, Pat Riley, spent his formative years in the league during the 1980s building L.A.'s storied identity as a legendary franchise and coached them to four championships.

When King James was with the Heat, he was part of the Big Three alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The only player left from that dominant squad is Udonis Haslem, but the team is still coached by Erik Spoelstra.

That familiarity may come in handy as Miami tries to continue its Cinderella run through the playoffs by getting past the one man who has been a fixture in the Finals for over a decade.

"If you want to win," Jimmy Butler told reporters Monday. "You'll have to go through a LeBron James-led team."


2020 NBA Finals Schedule

All times ET.

All games in the bubble (Orlando, FL)

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 30 Miami at Los Angeles (9 p.m., ABC)

Game 2: Friday, Oct. 2 Miami at Los Angeles (9 p.m., ABC)

Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 4 Los Angeles at Miami (7:30 p.m., ABC)

Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 6 Los Angeles at Miami (9 p.m., ABC)

Game 5: Friday, Oct. 9 Miami at Los Angeles (9 p.m., ABC)*

Game 6: Sunday, Oct. 11 Los Angeles at Miami (7:30 p.m., ABC)*

Game 7: Tuesday, Oct. 13 Miami at Los Angeles (9 p.m., ABC)*

*If necessary.



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The oddsmakers have spoken, and it's the Lakers who are favored to exit the bubble with the Larry O'Brien Trophy. L.A. is the No. 1 seed in the highly competitive Western Conference and has two first-team All NBA players in Anthony Davis and James.

The Lakers' dynamic duo has been phenomenal this postseason, working the pick-and-roll to perfection and taking over games when needed.

"I think it's just an enormous accomplishment to get there with a third team," Lakers coach Frank Vogel told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne of James. "He's empowered this whole group with just buying in with the plan that we had. With how we wanted to play this year and getting the whole group to buy in."

Motivation is key for L.A., and while winning the championship is plenty for this team, winning it for the Black Mamba serves as an even greater cause.

"I think not just me, but the entire team thinks about him all the time," Davis told reporters in early September. "I mean, we say 'Mamba on three' after every timeout, every huddle, knowing that he's with us and knowing that we're not only playing for our organization, but playing for him."

Miami isn't trying to spoil the Lakers' tribute, but it has a mission of its own. The Heat are the first No. 5 seed to make it to the Finals, and they are hungry.

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Jimmy Butler leads this group of gritty, hard-nosed players, and his confidence has rubbed off on everyone to the point that there's belief they can beat anyone.

"He doesn't have to make any apologies for who he is," Spolestra told reporters. "We love him for who he is and what he's all about. He impacts winning. I think everybody in the league has always known that. It's not about stats. It's not about anything else. He cares."

Outside of Butler, Miami has another All-Star in Bam Adebayo and young talents Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro. And then there's Andre Iguodala, who now has been to six straight Finals. He's bringing with him a treasure trove of experience, especially when it comes to defending "top talent ever" James, and understands that it takes a team.

"We prepare better than anyone I've seen in terms of that grit, that grind and embracing," Iguodala told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears. "We just have that chip on our shoulder of hearing, 'You're not the most talented.' So, we take that and say, 'How do we get the most of the guys on our team and make everyone a weapon on both ends of the floor.

"It's the true essence of maximizing the team that you have. It's a genius in the organization for strategically taking certain guys in certain situations and bringing them in to make that perfect fit."


Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport.

Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.


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