Neel Predicts: Lakers win NBA finals


Neel Sharma, Sports Editor

Though earthquakes are the most common disaster to strike the Bay Area, a new form of disaster struck on May 12 with such force that it took the dignity and pride away from an entire population, thoroughly and swiftly. 

The Golden State Warriors lost in round two of the NBA Playoffs. After a 4-2 series loss against Lebron James’ Los Angeles Lakers, many basketball fans across the country foresee the flickering end of The Dubs’ Dynasty. Yes, you read that correctly — a team that started its season 2-10 (with a .3% chance of making the playoffs according to a Lakers analytic team) has now defeated the reigning NBA champions and might have proven to the world that they, too, are looking to form their own dynasty. 

As a devoted Warriors fan, I was utterly devastated by the loss and could only stare at my TV in agony as ESPN sports commentator Scott Van Pelt gleefully displayed Lakers’ highlights in front of what he probably thought were LA fans. 

Thirty minutes passed at first, then an hour, and then it was 1 a.m., and I continued to sit in a confused daze, racking my brain for reasons to dislike yet another Los Angeles team. 

Eventually, my head realized something that my heart couldn’t quite grasp: no team is beating the Lakers this year. Whether they’re facing the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, or what I predict to be the Celtics in the finals, Lebron James will frolic into his tropical summer in Cancún as a champion and not a runner-up. 

From a legendary eight-seed run by the Miami Heat to a Corgi Prophecy in the Warriors, this playoff has been one of the most action-packed of all time. I will thus give my predictions for the rounds left in the playoffs: the East and West Conference Finals, and the NBA Finals. These two rounds will consist of the final four teams left in the playoffs: the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics will face off against the Miami Heat. Though the Heat have had star player Jimmy Butler to push them through the first two rounds of the playoffs and defeat the previous number one-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, basketball is not a one-man show, and Butler alone will not be enough to overcome the star power of the Celtics. 

The Celtics will win this series due to Jayson Tatum’s high scoring ability and the depth of its lineup as opposed to the Heat, who are missing key players.

The Western Conference Finals is a simpler discussion. Don’t get me wrong, the Denver Nuggets are one of the best teams in the NBA, but come playoff time, they are simply not experienced or skilled enough to beat James and the Lakers. 

At a glance, because the regular season record of the Nuggets established them as The Best in the West, many might assume that they are in fact the best basketball team in the West. 

After Russell Westbrook left to play for the Clippers in February, the Lakers got D’angelo Russell, who turned out to be a great addition, contributing to the team’s best record in the NBA. 

This Lakers team is a different team from the regular season one because of the new team chemistry and upgrades from trades. Because of their recent triumphs, I do not see Lebron James’ Lakers losing to Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets. Though Jokic has been the MVP of the NBA for two out of the last three seasons, his team lacks the experience and will necessary to beat James, who is widely considered to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) of basketball. The Nuggets simply do not have enough playoff experience to outplay this adaptive Lakers team.

This NBA Finals will serve as the cherry on top for the Lakers to finish off a season filled with ups and downs and Lebron James will finish this season as a world champion for the fifth time.

The playoff resumé of the Lakers will be one of the best in modern NBA history and in an almost picture-perfect fashion, I predict this finals game will feature the biggest rivalry in NBA history: Celtics vs. Lakers. Both teams are currently tied for 17 league championships. This NBA Finals will serve as the cherry on top for the Lakers to finish off a season filled with ups and downs. The Lakers will win the NBA Finals for all of these reasons and Lebron James will finish this season as a world champion for the fifth time.