Yani's Column: Lakers vs Heat NBA Play-Off Final Preview
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball in the game against the Denver Nuggets in Game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 Playoffs as part of the NBA Restart 2020 on September 26, 2020 at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images)

As we approach the first game in the NBA Play-Off Final series, once again Daniel Huggins spoke to Yani Ourabah who has given his verdict on last week's action!

Now we know that the Final will be played between the Lakers and the Heat, Is this the Lakers' Final to lose? 

It is absolutely the Lakers' title to blow, but the Heat can take encouragement out of the fact that the Nuggets did not back down from this LeBron James led Lakers team and did cause them some issues.

But it shows that a team that is led by a 17-year vet in LeBron and an eight-year vet in Anthony Davis, surrounded by other experienced pieces in the team against a Denver Nuggets team which had a youthful exuberance about it - just is not an even match-up at this stage of the play-offs.

A team led by a 25-year-old Nikola Jokic and a 23-year-old Jamal Murray up against the likes of LeBron, AD, Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard,  you could see at the start of the series who will progress.

I am impressed by the youthful Nuggets side who came in and hit the Lakers where it hurts by managing to steal a game from them in the Western Conference Finals, but at the end of the day anyone who doubted the Lakers has now been brought back to reality.

The combination of class and experience trumped the Nuggets' combination of youthfulness and hunger in the Western Conference Finals, is the Lakers combination going to be the recipe for the title?

The quality and experience of the Lakers' two stars in LeBron and AD is the key to the Lakers winning the title this year, it was at the start of the season their vision, which is now coming to fruition.

No one in the Play-Offs as of yet have had an answer for them, and they continue to pop off.

Might the Heat potentially have an answer to AD and LeBron?

The Heat I think will have more of an answer than the Nuggets did because they have more weapons across the board than the Nuggets do.

The Heat are built differently, they have Bam Adebayo who will be one of the best players in the league to defend AD, they have Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Jae Crowder who are all lethal shooters when they show up, not to mention Jimmy Butler.

The Heat are eight, nine man deep with effective options, whereas the Lakers are not.

Will the rotation options that the Heat have compared to the Lakers' rotation options be a key factor in this series?

I think the Lakers have prepared for this all season-round and so have AD and LeBron individually - they will both play a lot of minutes in these Finals.

There is two sides to the coin here and if AD and LeBron show up feeling fresh and good, like they have throughout the bubble, then they will be extremely dangerous regardless of whether the Heat squad as a whole are in a better condition and more regularly rotated then them.

LeBron is entering his 18th NBA season next year, could retirement be on the horizon or do you think he will continue playing for the foreseeable future?

LeBron has the physique of a 24-year-old, so I don't see him retiring for at least another five years to be honest.

He spends $2 Million a year to keep his body in great shape and he does not show any signs of slowing down - at 35-years-old he is still flying and almost hitting his head on the backboard every dunk.

He has an incredible body and as we enter unprecedented times for athletes, particularly in the NBA, where players approaching the twilights of their careers, we continue to see players playing until their 40's.

How big of a role does the continued advancements in Sports Science play in a players career?

When it comes to Basketball, the commitment and dedication from NBA players I personally believe is higher than any other athlete from any other sport. 

Sports science is huge in every sport, but it is something that most NBA players will invest in for themselves individually. 

Like I said earlier, LeBron invests $2 Million a year in Sports Science products and equipment and dietary supplements to keep himself in shape, Michael Jordan kick-started the trend back in the 90s when he did the same.

There is no point in having Sports Science if players are not living and breathing Basketball everyday, but you rarely see that in the NBA where players are not living, breathing and looking after their bodies 365 days a year.

Did the Miami Heat's victory over the Boston Celtics shock you, and if so what went wrong for the Celtics?

The Celtics just didn't have answers for the Heat defence who were able to suffocate the Celtics on the wings.

Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo turned up defensively and both Jimmy and Bam showed up with huge plays with some huge clutch points too.

For the Celtics to have beaten the Heat in the form that they are in, they would have had to have five players hitting 20+ points, which is a huge task - but credit where credits due the Heat were excellent.

Bam Adebayo has been one of the most consistent players in the Play-Offs, how important will he be in the series against the Lakers?

Bam is the guy that will give the Lakers the most issues that they have faced in this entire bubble, he is a monster.

If he turns up in the series then we could be up for one of the most entertaining and exciting Play-Off Finals in recent history.

Furthermore, I've said this before and I will say it again, if he adds a consistent jump-shot, then he will become one of the most lethal players in the league.

Absolutely incredible performances and numbers from someone who is now a superstar.

What are the key match-ups?

For me, the Lakers guards vs the Miami Heat perimeter defence will be key.

If Kyle Kuzma steps up with his three point shooting, which is 31.5% in the Play-offs, but was fantastic in the bubble, he will give the Heat real issues.

Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be very key if they can knock down their shots because if the Lakers move the ball around well, they will have enough time to make their shots.

Jimmy Butler vs LeBron James is a fascinating watch, as is Bam Adebayo vs Anthony Davis - it will be interesting see how much Miami deploy the zone defence which they used very effectively against the Celtics but may not enjoy as much against the Lakers.

Can these Lakers guards chase around the Heat for 48 minutes? It will certainly be interesting to watch and entertaining too.

 

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