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LA Lakers crush Miami Heat to capture 17th NBA title

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Fans celebrate after the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA Championship in Game 6, after defeating the Miami Heat, near the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, October 11, 2020. AFP

Orlando, United States (AFP) – The Los Angeles Lakers, fueled by superstar LeBron James’s triple-double, dominated the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday to win a record-equalling 17th NBA championship but their first in a decade.

James added another chapter to an epic career, delivering 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as he captured his fourth NBA title with a third team.

He earned NBA Finals Most Valuable Player honors for a fourth time, and said the accomplishment had a special flavor with the Lakers.

“This is a historic franchise and to be a part of this is something that I’ll be able to talk about and my grandkids and kids will be able to talk about — their pawpaw played for the Los Angeles Lakers,” James said.

“It’s like playing for the Yankees and winning or playing for the Cowboys and winning a Super Bowl, or the Patriots. It’s like playing for the Red Sox.”

James said the magnitude of what he was trying to accomplish with the Lakers kept his mind focused in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.

Anthony Davis, playing in his first title series after years of frustration in New Orleans, added 19 points and 15 rebounds as the Lakers completed a four-games-to-two triumph more than eight months after the helicopter crash that killed team legend Kobe Bryant, who had led the Lakers to their last title in 2010.

The series in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida, capped not only an emotional season for the Lakers with the loss of talisman Bryant but a season of uncertainty and upheaval for the NBA as players grappled with the coronavirus pandemic and the demands for social and racial justice sweeping across the United States.

The Lakers out-hustled, out-muscled and out-played Miami, making sure it wouldn’t come down to any last-gasp effort as it did when Los Angeles were denied in game five on Friday.

Los Angeles had blew Game 6 open by halftime, their 36 second-quarter points equalling the Heat’s entire first half total as the Lakers took a 64-36 lead into the break with four players already scoring in double figures.

Rajon Rondo was a perfect six-for-six from the floor in the first half as the Lakers built the second-largest halftime lead in NBA Finals history.

Rondo, who won a title with the Celtics in 2008, scored 19 points off the bench. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 17, Danny Green scored 11 and the Lakers pulled level with the Boston Celtics for most titles all-time.

Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 25 points and 10 rebounds and Butler and Jae Crowder added 12 apiece, but Miami simply had no answer for the knockout blow Los Angeles delivered in the first half.

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