The Los Angeles Lakers were dominant throughout the 2019-20 season, maintaining the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for a majority of the year. They managed to pick up statement wins against the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks before the season got suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Thankfully, the NBA restarted the season with the bubble in Orlando, Florida and L.A. was able to continue its championship aspirations. The Lakers clinched the first-seed and handled the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets in five games. L.A. then awaited its opponent in the NBA Finals and it was between the Celtics and Miami Heat.
Former Laker Rajon Rondo recently made an appearance on retired NBA player JJ Reddick’s podcast, The Old Man & the Three and shared the plan that he and LeBron James had in place depending on who the Lakers would face in the Finals:
“This goes back to the bubble when me and Bron were in the bubble. We’re watching the game. I think it was Miami and Boston again. And we were sitting in the room watching the game, and like I said, it went down to the wire. So, Bron’s like, ‘If we get Miami, I got Spo, and if we get Boston, you got Brad [Stevens].’ So that was kind of our mindset. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna beat the Heat, or we’re gonna beat the Celtics.’ It was more so, if we can outcoach or outplay the coaches on that staff in particular, which two guys we felt that we knew pretty good, we were gonna win.”
Rondo was a vital piece to winning the championship and it showed how locked in he and James were leading up to the 2020 Finals. The former Celtic was familiar with then head coach Brad Stevens and mentioned in the episode that he focused more on coaches than players.
So, he’d know all the schemes, plays, habits, etc. Same with James spending time with the Heat and winning championships there, he was familiar with Erik Spoelstra’s system and what he likes to run.
As we know, the Heat would ultimately beat the Celtics, robbing the chance of having another Lakers versus Celtics Finals despite the bubble implications. The 2020 championship was a challenging road for the Lakers both mentally and physically, but credit to Rondo and James being prepared and one step ahead of their opponents.
Referee Eric Lewis retires, social media investigation closed
The NBA had opened an investigation on referee Eric Lewis and potentially having a burner Twitter account a few months ago. Lewis was a part of the crew in the Celtics versus Lakers game that featured the well-known James missed call. Interestingly, the league announced that Lewis retired and suddenly the investigation was closed.
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