Preview capsule for the Lakers-Heat NBA Finals that start Wednesday:
No. 1 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (52-19, 12-3) vs. No. 5 MIAMI HEAT (44-29, 12-3)
Season series: Lakers, 2-0. Both meetings were more than nine months ago, with the Lakers winning 95-80 at home on Nov. 8 and 113-110 in Miami on Dec. 13.
Schedule: Game 1 is Wednesday; Game 2, Friday; Game 3, Sunday; Game 4, Oct. 6; Game 5, Oct. 9; Game 6, Oct. 11; Game 7, Oct. 13.
Story line: LeBron James’ chance to win an NBA title with a third franchise comes against the team with which he won his first. James led Miami to back-to-back titles in 2012 and ’13, with the Heat reaching the finals in all four years he was there. His 10th NBA Finals appearance comes in the first for the Lakers since 2010, when they won the last of their 16 championships. They will tie the Boston Celtics for most in league history if they beat the Heat, who at No. 5 in the Eastern Conference are the lowest-seeded team in the NBA Finals since the New York Knicks were No. 8 in 1999.
Key matchup: Anthony Davis vs. Bam Adebayo. Both big men were voted to All-Defensive teams (Davis first, Adebayo second) and can also take over games offensively. Davis has been dominant in his first season with the Lakers, averaging 28.8 points in the postseason and hitting the game-winning 3-pointer in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. Adebayo finished off Miami’s run through the East with a season-high 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to help the Heat pull away from Boston in Game 6.
Numbers of note: James joins Hall of Famers Bill Russell (12), Sam Jones (11) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (10) with 10 or more NBA Finals appearances. His record is 3-6. … James and Danny Green will become two of 15 players to play in at least one NBA Finals game for three different teams. … The Lakers are playing in their 32nd NBA Finals, most in league history. … Miami is in its sixth NBA Finals, all since 2006. The Heat are 3-2. … The Heat have had a different leading scorer in each series (Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler, Adebayo), the first team to do that since the 1999 San Antonio Spurs.
Prediction: Lakers in 5.
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