LeBron James wins his fourth NBA championship, leading the Lakers to their 17th in blowout fashion

The coronation came in the second quarter.



a man standing in front of a crowd: Game 6 of the NBA Finals was a slam dunk for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


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Game 6 of the NBA Finals was a slam dunk for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers outscored the Miami Heat by 20 points in the second stanza to take a 28-point halftime lead en route to a 106-93 win that secured the franchise’s record-tying 17th NBA championship.

[Yahoo Store: Get your Los Angeles Lakers championship gear right here!]

In his record-setting 260th playoff game, LeBron James became the first player to lead three different teams to a title, logging 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in 41 minutes on his way to a fourth ring. He was also named Finals MVP for the fourth time unanimously. Only Michael Jordan has more with six.

“We just want our respect,” James said after accepting the trophy on the postgame

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LeBron James wins fourth NBA title in a blowout

The coronation came in the second quarter.

The Los Angeles Lakers outscored the Miami Heat by 20 points in the second stanza to take a 28-point halftime lead en route to a 106-93 win that secured the franchise’s record-tying 17th NBA championship.

[Yahoo Store: Get your Los Angeles Lakers championship gear right here!]

In his record-setting 260th playoff game, LeBron James became the first player to lead three different teams to a title, logging 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in 41 minutes on his way to a fourth ring. He was also named Finals MVP for the fourth time unanimously. Only Michael Jordan has more with six.

“We just want our respect,” James said after accepting the trophy on the postgame broadcast. “Rob [Pelinka, the Lakers’ general manager] wants his respect. Coach [Frank] Vogel wants his respect. Our organization wants their respect. Lakers nation wants their respect.

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The beauty of Butler vs. LeBron is that there’s an encore coming

The beauty of basketball comes often from its flow and form, with offensive players moving in unison to create a good shot, the ball zipping from one side to the other until it somehow finds the open shooter, the players on both sides seemingly attached by a string.

It can be a dance and, at its best, it can be a gorgeous thing.

But sometimes it’s boiled down to a basic form, me against you, my best against your best, stop me if you can.

That may be the enduring image of the NBA Finals, now headed to a Game 6 on Sunday night.

Jimmy Butler vs. LeBron James, with a bunch of other guys on the court. Stars being stars, big shots followed by bigger shots and, as James said after Butler and the Miami Heat beat him and the Lakers on Friday, “that’s the beauty of the game.”

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Lakers-Heat NBA Finals betting odds: Expect LeBron James, Anthony Davis to lead L.A. to a title in style

This is somewhat premature, but in the past several days, 2021 championship odds have begun to circulate. Unsurprisingly, the Lakers are the early favorite, and with the 2020 championship now likely in hand, it’s never too early to start thinking about future profits. So here’s something to ruminate on as the Lakers fight to win their 17th championship: if LeBron James plays at this level next season (a big “if”), the Lakers will almost certainly be better next season than they are now. 

Unlike most of their fellow contenders, there is a good chance they’ll be able to use the full Mid-Level exception in free agency. Given the lack of cap space around the league, that should net them a quality starter. Almost all of their leftover salary is expiring, so if they want to package a few players with either Kyle Kuzma or some draft picks, they could add

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Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat challenge the LeBron James superteam model

When Leonard made his power move last offseason, signing with the Los Angeles Clippers and convincing Paul George to force a monster trade to join him, the two-time Finals MVP was hailed as the competitor who balanced the league. He had no interest in joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis to form a superteam with the Los Angeles Lakers. He wanted to battle them, for L.A. and the Larry O’Brien Trophy. But his merge-with-a-peer approach was actually more of the same in this NBA era of nomadic superstars. Meanwhile, Butler was just an oddball, roving franchise player in search of something indecipherable.

Well, you can decipher what he was searching for now.

Butler left a young, star-studded cast in Philadelphia for a gritty Miami squad that didn’t make the playoffs in 2019. It seemed to be change for the sake of change. In reality, it was the genius decision of

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