Former NBA players Dennis Scott, Channing Frye, Kevin McHale, Isiah Thomas and Grant Hill offer their predictions ahead of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Live NBA: LA Lakers @ Miami GM6
The Los Angeles Lakers are one victory away from clinching their 17th NBA championship and their superstar LeBron James one ‘W’ away from becoming the third player (and first non-role player) to win an NBA title with three different teams.
- NBA Finals: Anthony Davis listed as probable for Game 6
- NBA Finals: Internsity rising for Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers
The Miami Heat, who started the series as underdogs and whose chances were limited by injuries to two of their starters, have twice trailed by two games in this Finals series but have bounced back with victories on both occasions, fuelled by the spectacular play of their leader Jimmy Butler.
Will the Lakers close out the series with a Game 6 win? Or will the Heat force a series-deciding Game 7?
On NBA TV, Gametime analysts Scott, Frye, McHale, Thomas and Hill offered their thoughts on how Game 6 will unfold.
Dennis Scott – NBA Finalist (1994-95)
The health meter is up to Anthony Davis. Only he knows how his body really feels. With that being said, he has to feel well enough where he can get back to being the best player on the floor, or at least in that conversation. Throughout the playoffs, when that happens, the Lakers have won with no problems.
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LeBron James has been great, but when Davis doesn’t meet him halfway the Lakers struggle. Even when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the other (Lakers role players) are knocking down shots. If the Lakers want to close out Game 6, AD needs to step up.
I want to say LeBron gives the Lakers the upper hand because he has been there so many times and he has the rings. But what is different about this opponent is that the Miami Heat believe. Jimmy Butler is a great leader. Their role players know what they need to do. Bam Adebayo is active on defense. If all that takes effect, they will believe they can extend this series to a Game 7.
Channing Frye – NBA champion (2015-16)
For the Miami Heat to lock down on defense and get extra possessions, Bam Adebayo has to be at full strength. His head is attached to his body so he is going to play, this is the NBA Finals!
I don’t want to hear about a cold, a neck strain, a foot strain. Adebayo is the other All-Star on this Miami Heat team, he runs the offense and anchors the defense. Where Jimmy Butler is the emotional leader, Bam is their talent. He can break out for a 30-point game whenever, but he is doing a lot that doesn’t go on the stat sheets.
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I have been impressed with him since he came back. His numbers are down but he has been making the right plays, winning plays.
Kevin McHale – Hall of Famer, three-time NBA champion
LeBron and Anthony Davis can go out there and put up 60 points between them very easily and they have done it multiple times in these Finals and in these playoffs.
I don’t know if Jimmy Butler is going to be able to have another one of those performances. He was so good (in Game 5) it was unbelievable. Can Kendrick Nunn make the shots he made in Game 5 consistently? Miami are always having to find those extra players to fill in.
I look at the two superstars the Lakers have and I see them combining for 60 points a lot easier than, say, Tyler Herro scoring 37 points for the Heat.
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I love the Heat, I love their toughness. But I’m pulling for the Lakers.
Isiah Thomas – Hall of Famer, two-time NBA champion, 1990 Finals MVP
There is a beauty to being a team and being so connected. I look at Miami and Jimmy Butler said the right thing: We are not scared. That’s the first thing you have to do when you are competing against LeBron James, the best player in the world. Miami are not afraid to compete.
The two things the Lakers have got to do is create turnovers and rebound the basketball. If they do that, they have a great chance of winning Game 6.
Grant Hill – Hall of Famer, five-time All-Star
Collectively, Miami were perfect in their game plan and execution in Game 5. Jimmy Butler was sensational.
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Outside of LeBron and AD, the rest of the Lakers were just OK. They shot 30 per cent from the field. It came down to an open three-pointer at the top of the key that decided the game.
If the other Lakers players can play better, play like they have played in this postseason, along with AD and LeBron… Even with the best effort, toughness, togetherness that Miami have, you have to give the advantage to Los Angeles.
I think they come out in Game 6 and take care of business.
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