In a few hours, the Los Angeles Lakers will start their final series of the 2020 NBA Playoffs when they face the Miami Heat in game one of the NBA Finals. The Lakers led the Western Conference nearly the entire season and mostly breezed through their bracket, winning each of their first three series in just five games. Still, the Heat are not afraid of the moment, especially after boasting an identical 12-3 record in the postseason behind their star duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and head coach Erik Spoelstra.
In fact, when asked about the Heat’s chances against a Lakers team favored heavily in Vegas, Butler had a strong statement:
“So what that nobody picked us to be here? That’s OK. I’m pretty sure nobody’s picking us to win either. … We embrace that.”
Butler on the Heat’s 60-1 preseason odds to win title pic.twitter.com/QUZ3cYE9Wl
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 29, 2020
“I don’t think we’re the underdogs” is exactly what you would expect a player of Butler’s caliber and mentality to say. The star wing has been a crucial part of Miami’s run as the fourth seed in the East not only with his play on the court but the mentality he has helped to instill in the locker room alongside Miami’s vaunted “culture.”
More so than Butler’s confidence in his team, it’s clear that they are not underdogs because that’s exactly what the Lakers have been all postseason. They had to face the greatest eighth seed of all time in the first round, an offensive juggernaut capable of playing Anthony Davis off the floor in the second round, and the most resilient team in NBA history in the conference finals. Really, they’re playing with found money at this point as no one expected them to make it this far.