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2020 NBA Finals
2020 NBA Finals logo.png
Team Coach Wins
Los Angeles Lakers Frank Vogel 4
Miami Heat Erik Spoelstra 2
Dates: September 30–October 11
MVP: LeBron James
(Los Angeles Lakers)
Eastern Finals: Heat defeated Celtics, 4-2
Western Finals: Lakers defeated Nuggets, 4–1

The 2020 NBA Finals was the championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 2019–20 season and conclusion of the season's playoffs.

In this best-of-seven playoff series, the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in six games, winning their first NBA championship in ten years where they defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games. It was the franchise's 17th title, tying the Celtics for the most wins in the league's history. The Lakers' LeBron James was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the fourth time in his career. He became the first player in league history to be named Finals MVP with three different franchises.

The Lakers were the No. 1 seed in the West, while the Heat were No. 5 in the East, becoming the third-lowest seed to advance to the Finals. This is the first NBA Finals matchup between the two teams, and the first time that Finals participants had both missed the playoffs in the previous season. The Lakers' LeBron James had previously played with the Heat under head coach Erik Spoelstra winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013 from four consecutive Finals appearances from 20112014, while Heat president Pat Riley was head coach of the "Showtime"-era Lakers from 1981–1990 leading them to four NBA titles from seven Finals appearances.

For the first time in six years, the Golden State Warriors were not in the Finals. This is also LeBron James' tenth Finals appearance and sixth consecutive Finals appearance of Andre Iguodala who appeared in the previous five finals with the Warriors. Dwight Howard returned to the Finals for the first time since 2009.

The Finals were originally scheduled to begin on June 4 and end on June 24, but the season was suspended on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA and its players later approved a plan to restart the season in late July, setting up the NBA Bubble at Walt Disney World to protect teams from the virus. The games were played behind closed doors in the Bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Bay Lake, Florida, with the Finals being played from September 30 through October 11. This year's Finals was the latest to begin (beating the 2012 edition which began on June 7) and the first one played in September and October.

2020 NBA Playoffs

Los Angeles Lakers (Western Conference Champion) Miami Heat (Eastern Conference Champion)
52–19 (.732)

1st Pacific, 1st West, 3rd Overall

Regular season 44–29 (.603)

1st Southeast, 5th East, 11th Overall

Defeated the (8) Portland Trail Blazers, 4–1 First Round Defeated the (4) Indiana Pacers, 4–0
Defeated the (4) Houston Rockets, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (1) Milwaukee Bucks, 4–1
Defeated the (3) Denver Nuggets, 4–1 Conference Finals Defeated the (3) Boston Celtics, 4–2

Background

Season suspension and restart

On March 11, 2020, the NBA announced the suspension of the 2019–20 season following a report that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 just hours before the Jazz road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. On June 4, the NBA Board of Governors approved 29–1 (the Portland Trail Blazers were the lone dissenter) resuming the 2019–20 season at Walt Disney World. The National Basketball Players Association approved the plan a day later. Under the plan, thirteen Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, which include all clubs within six games of a playoff spot, played eight regular-season "seeding" games. A possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed in each conference would then be held if the ninth seed finished the regular season within four games of the eighth seed (this play-in tournament was used in the Western conference only). The 2020 NBA playoffs were then played as a conventional post-season tournament.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers were coming off of a disappointing season in 2018–19 in which they extended their playoff drought which began in 2014. Their major free agent acquisition, LeBron James, suffered the first major injury in his career, and he missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005 (the same year that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lakers also missed the playoffs) and missed the Finals for the first since 2010 after eight straight Finals. On the final day of the season, Magic Johnson resigned as president of basketball operations, and head coach Luke Walton and the team mutually agreed to part ways a few days later. During the offseason, general manager Rob Pelinka hired Frank Vogel as the Lakers' new head coach, and he acquired six-time All-Star power forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in a three-way trade that also included the Washington Wizards. Pelinka was promoted to vice president of basketball operations in January 2020, while still retaining his GM role. Later in the month, legendary former Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna and seven others. The Lakers dedicated the season to him.

The Lakers clinched their first playoff berth since the 2012–13 season in March 2020, days before the season was suspended. It ended the longest drought in the franchise's history. After play resumed in the bubble, the Lakers clinched both their first Pacific Division title since 2012 and the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs for the first time since the 2009–10 season. James and Davis were runner-ups for the NBA Most Valuable Player and NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, respectively, behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, and both were named to the All-NBA First Team.

The Lakers needed five games each to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals, and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. LeBron James similarly needed five games each with Miami Heat to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bulls in 2011 to reach the Finals, but fell short to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

Miami Heat

During the off-season, the Heat agreed to a four-way trade with the Los Angeles ClippersPortland Trail Blazers, and the Philadelphia 76ers to acquire 5-time NBA All-Star small forward Jimmy Butler from the 76ers.

The Heat clinched their first playoff berth since the 2017–18 season on June 4 before the season was resumed on July 30. Before play resumed in the bubble, the Heat clinched their first Southeast Division title since 2017.

The Heat earned the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference after missing the playoffs the previous season.

The Heat swept the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, upset the first seed Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and defeated the third seed Boston Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals to become the first fifth-seeded team in NBA history to reach the Finals.

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 September 30 Los Angeles 116–98 Miami
Game 2 October 2 Los Angeles 124–114 Miami
Game 3 October 4 Miami 115–104 Los Angeles
Game 4 October 6 Miami 96-102 Los Angeles
Game 5 October 9 Los Angeles 108-111 Miami
Game October 11 Miami 93-106 Los Angeles
Preceded by
2019
NBA Finals
2020
Succeeded by
2021
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