Los Angeles Lakers: Key matchups to watch vs. Miami Heat

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

Certain key matchups could decide the outcome between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

All the hard work from last year has finally reached the final step in the equation. The Los Angeles Lakers are in the NBA Finals after 10 years of being away and 7 years since the team has been in the playoffs.

The only disappointing note about this season for the Lakers is that the fans can’t be there to appreciate this amazing run from the team. Staples Center would be rocking right now with the amount of effort this team has displayed.

Now they face the Miami Heat and here are some key matchups to look out for.

Lakers’ offense vs the zone

Throughout the playoffs, the Miami Heat have brought out the zone to stifle opponents and pressure them into taking contested three’s. Boston faced the zone almost every game vs Miami and struggled to generate good shots.

The Celtics never attack the weakest spot in the zone consistently and don’t have a zone buster. This is where having Anthony Davis comes in handy as the Unicorn has been shooting 50% from the midrange while averaging 4 assists per a game. The weakest spot of the zone is in the middle and AD is set up to dominate.

LeBron James vs Miami’s wings

LeBron James so far has been pacing himself in these playoffs with picking and choosing when to take up a notch with AD being his reliable option. James is currently averaging a career-low in playoff minutes and Coach Vogel has done an excellent job finding spots to rest LBJ during games.

Coming into the finals, LeBron James is averaging 27ppg/10pg/9apg on 55%/35%/74% shooting and playing elite defense.

It still feels like LeBron has another notch to reach with his play and now is the time to do it in the NBA finals but Miami does have the best perimeter defenders LeBron will have faced all postseason.

Iguodala and Butler have done a very good job against LeBron in the past, and it will be an interesting matchup to pay attention too.

Vogel vs Spoelstra

These coaches have gone to battle 50 times as head coaches with Coach Spo getting the better of Coach Vogel with 26 wins vs 24 wins. Back then Coach Spo had LeBron, Wade, and Bosh while Vogel had the young upstart Pacers being the underdogs.

Times change and now Vogel has the superstar tandem while Spo has the young upstart underdogs. Both are defensive masterminds and have shown the ability to make adjustments on the fly, and that is the reason they are both coaching in these finals.

It will be interesting to see which of these young bright coaches are willing to change up their defensive schemes in order to get the result they need.

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As Laker fans watch the finals from home they should pay attention to these matchups and see how the team reacts to adversity. the zone will be coming and there should be no excuses on how to break it. Let’s see if the Lakers are going to come out the gate with the mindset of setting the tone early.