‘We understand what is at stake. The job is not done. I’ma continue to get the work in, I’m going to continue to not sleep until the job is done.’
Friday will be LeBron’s chance to get the job done in the first potential Finals close-out game against the Heat. If he manages to do so, he’ll go to sleep as a 4x NBA champion, and one of the few guys who was able to win a title with three different franchises. The only question is, will he go down in history as the first player to land the Finals MVP award with three different teams. To Scottie Pippen, that’s not a question.
Cases can be made for both to be crowned as the best individual performer of the Finals. For Anthony Davis, it starts with defense. He has been LA’s best defender by far, and one guy the Heat can’t find an answer for. Playing Kelly Olynyk heavy minutes in Game 3 and getting AD out of the paint is the best Miami did, as it freed up space for Jimmy Butler to go to work. Butler had an all-time great Finals performance, leading Miami to their only win of the series so far.
And while it seemed the Heat found the way to minimize AD’s impact on the defensive end, Game 4 came as a dispute, as Davis locked down Miami’s star player to put his team up 3-1 in the series. He’s playing at the DPOY level, orchestrating the Lakers’ defense on their way to the franchise’s 17th title. Offensively, Davis has also been incredible, tiling up two 30+ performances up until this point. However, AD’s 15-point outing in Game 3 is a stain on his Finals resume, and it might end up becoming a decisive factor in him not winning the Finals MVP.
Especially since he’s going up against LeBron James – the epitome of consistency. James has put up a near triple-double in all of the four games played so far. Even in the loss, James has been up to standard, statistically at least.
However, the biggest argument for LeBron remains the eye test – all the stuff that doesn’t show in the box score. The way he’s controlling the tempo, adjusting to defenses on the run, picking his spots, timing the pecking order – all of this has LeBron’s imprint on it. He’s the guy orchestrating the Lakers’ offense, and the main reason LA is in position to close out the series on Friday.
So in terms of numbers, cases can be made for both. But after watching a game, it’s clear – LeBron is your Finals MVP. Once again, in case of the Lakers winning it all. Jimmy Butler and the Heat still have something to say about that.