Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat are boasting two All-Stars, but what’s the third most important matchup in this NBA Finals?
The Miami Heat took care of business on Sunday night, getting the win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and advancing on to the NBA Finals, where they’ll face the Los Angeles Lakers.
Both these teams are walking in boasting two All-Star players. Los Angeles has LeBron James and Anthony Davis, whereas Miami is rolling out Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. It will be a battle of stars in this championship series, but the outcome may be determined by their supporting casts.
The Heat have a higher depth at every position, including the wing, where in addition to Butler they’ll task Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala with defending James in this series. But what’s the third most important matchup for Miami and their hopes to secure a championship?
Without a doubt, it’s rookie guard Tyler Herro and veteran point guard Rajon Rondo. Both those players have proven to be the difference-maker that’s helped to lead these teams to this NBA Finals, serving as the secondary playmakers for each team’s second and closing units.
In his first postseason, Herro is walking into a championship series averaging 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game while connecting on 38 percent of his three-pointers.
Rondo, on the other hand, is playing in his ninth postseason, after winning a championship back in 2008 as a member of the Boston Celtics. But even at 34 years old, the veteran point guard is every bit the floor general that he was in those days, and beyond, now closing games for the Lakers.
Walking into Wednesday night, Rondo is averaging 9.1 points, 7.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.6 steals nightly while knocking down a playoff-career high 1.3 three-pointers per game.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are going to get their buckets. So are Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The two superstars will have to carry their respective loads for each of their teams, yes, and it’s lining up to be an incredible battle between two of the best teams in the league.
But this NBA Finals series will be determined by each club’s depth chart, who does or doesn’t show up, and how the teams survive when their two best players aren’t on the floor.
Those minutes will be shouldered by Rajon Rondo and Tyler Herro, an all-time great matched up with an up and comer guard who’s aspiring to reach the same heights, or beyond. That friends is what will be the third most important matchup in the series that crowns the NBA’s champion.
The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers’ Finals series will kick off on Wednesday night in Game 1. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 pm EST, and coverage will be provided by ABC.