ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith always has an opinion, or just something to say, no matter the sports topic. However, back in December 2019, he gave his five Christmas wishes while on his show First Take. What was his top wish? Smith said he wished for an NBA Finals matchup between the LA Lakers (or Clippers) and Miami Heat. Well, as you may know, he just got what he wished for, as the Lakers and Heat are both in the Finals. However, he got it in the worst possible way.
Stephen A. Smith wished for a Miami-LA NBA Finals matchup
In December 2019, Smith went on ESPN’s First Take and gave his top five Christmas wishes. His first four wishes were: for Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes to play in the Super Bowl, an LA Clippers versus LA Lakers matchup in the Western Conference Finals, the New York Knicks to become relevant, and for the Dallas Cowboys to lose that weekend.
However, his No. 1 wish was for a Miami-LA matchup in the NBA Finals.
“Why? Because we’re talking about my social life, that’s why,” Smith said on First Take. “We’re talking about the palm trees, the sunshine. We’re talking about LA, Miami, NBA Finals. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, of course, but if we’re talking about my wish list: being sent to work, and for the month of June, I got to be stuck in Miami or LA. Let’s just say I’ll get over that.”
Well, Smith has, in fact, gotten precisely what he wished for.
He got exactly what he wished for in the worst possible way
Nine months later and Smith just got exactly what he wanted. The LA Lakers and Miami Heat are playing in the NBA Finals.
The Lakers have dominated all year long behind the play of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. After James averaged 25.3 points per game, 7.8 rebounds, and a league-leading 10.2 assists in the regular season, and Davis averaged 26.1 points per game and 9.3 rebounds, the duo has since been unstoppable in the playoffs.
James and Davis have led the Lakers to three straight five-game series wins so far. The Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in five games in the First Round, the Houston Rockets in five games in the Western Conference Semifinals, and the Denver Nuggets in five games in the Western Conference Finals.
LA had high hopes to reach the Finals all year, and they did just that.
Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat, though, were underdogs heading into the playoffs, as they were the five seed in the Eastern Conference. They first beat the Indiana Pacers in four games in the First Round before upsetting the Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Heat then eventually defeated the Boston Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals to reach the NBA Finals and lock-in the Heat-Lakers matchup.
So, Smith got precisely what he wished for, but he got it in the worst possible way, as the games won’t be played in LA or Miami. They will be played in the NBA bubble in Orlando due to COVID-19, so he, unfortunately, won’t be traveling to those beautiful cities.
The 2020 NBA Finals will still be interesting
The games will take place in the bubble, but there are still plenty of storylines in this series. There is, of course, the one regarding LeBron James playing his former team, the Heat, in addition to James and Andre Igoudala both going for a fourth championship. Additionally, Heat president Pat Riley will get to see his team go against the squad he used to coach, the Lakers.
However, all of the players playing in the series will make it pretty interesting too.
James and Davis have been dominant in the playoffs so far, as James has averaged 26.7 points per game, 10.3 rebounds, and 8.9 assists, while Davis has averaged 28.8 points per game in the playoffs to go with 9.3 rebounds.
Additionally, the Heat have a bunch of guys who have been playing excellent in the postseason. Butler is averaging 20.7 per game, Bam Adebayo is averaging 18.5 points per game and 11.4 rebounds, Goran Dragic is averaging 20.9 points per game, and Tyler Herro is averaging 16.5 points per game. To put it simply: the Miami Heat have been on fire in the NBA bubble.
Stephen A. Smith and his colleagues won’t be watching this year’s NBA Finals matchup in LA or Miami, but this series should still be extremely interesting and highly competitive.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference