LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Capping the longest season in NBA history with a dominant final flourish, the Los Angeles Lakers won it all for the first time in a decade. 350 days after the season began, the Lakers have won the 2019-20 NBA championship.
In a 106-93 close-out Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, LeBron James logged a triple-double -- 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists -- to win his fourth ring and third championship with three different franchises, while Anthony Davis added 19 points and 15 boards. 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.
LeBron James is used to delivering historic performances on The Finals stage. What he did in Game 6 of the 2020 Finals, though, puts him in a category all by himself.
James was named Finals MVP after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat with a 106-93 win in Game 6. In doing so, James became the first player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP with three different franchises. He was at his best in the Game 6 clincher, finishing with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists and won the Finals MVP by a unanimous 11-0 vote.
His first Finals MVP came as a member of the Miami Heat in the 2012 Finals. He followed that up with another in 2013 and won his third Finals MVP in 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from a 3-1 Finals deficit to win the title.
Heading into these Finals, James was tied with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Milwaukee Bucks, Lakers) and Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors) as the only players in NBA history to win Finals MVPs with more than one team.
In the 2020 Finals, James averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. The Lakers' title was their first since 2010, when franchise icon Kobe Bryant collected Finals MVP honors en route to L.A. defeating the rival Boston Celtics in Game 7. Overall, this is the 17th championship in Lakers history, tying them with the Celtics for most in NBA history.