Basketball: LA Lakers crush Miami Heat to win 17th NBA championship, LeBron James named Finals' MVP

ORLANDO (AFP, REUTERS) – The Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday (Oct 11) to win a record-equalling 17th National Basketball Association championship but their first since 2010.

Superstar LeBron James fuelled the Lakers with a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, capturing his fourth NBA title with a third different team.

“It means a lot to represent this franchise,” said James, who joined the team in the summer of 2018 after they had missed the play-offs for five seasons in a row.

“I told (Lakers president) Jeanie (Buss) when I came here that I was going to put this franchise back in the position where it belongs.

“We just want our respect. Rob (Pelinka) wants his respect, coach (Frank) Vogel wants his respect, our organisation wants its respect, Lakers nation wants its respect,” he said. “And I want my damn respect too.”

Anthony Davis added 19 points and 15 rebounds as the Lakers completed a 4-2 triumph in the best-of-seven championship series in the NBA quarantine bubble in Orlando.

It also marked the end of an emotional season for the franchise after Lakers great Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others near Los Angeles in January.

The Lakers out-hustled, out-muscled and out-played the Heat, making sure the game would not come down to any last-gasp effort as it did when they were denied in Game 5 on Friday.

Los Angeles had blown it open by half-time, their 36 second-quarter points equalling the Heat’s entire first-half total as the Lakers took a 64-36 lead into the break.

The Los Angeles Lakers won the final game against the Miami Heat 106-93. PHOTO: AFP

LeBron James won the Finals’ Most Valuable Player Award. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Four Lakers players had scored in double figures by half-time. Rajon Rondo was a perfect six-for-six from the floor in the first half as the Lakers built the second-largest half-time 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 and Danny Green scored 11.

The Heat, who had stunned the Lakers on Friday on the back of Jimmy Butler’s gritty triple-double, could not produce another miracle in the face of Los Angeles’ stifling defence.

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.

The Lakers’ 17 titles pulled them level with the Boston Celtics for the most all-time.

James won the Finals’ Most Valuable Player Award. He had also claimed the award during two championship runs with Miami and one with Cleveland, and is the first player in NBA history to earn NBA Finals MVP honours with three different teams.

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