Barring a historic comeback, the Los Angeles Lakers should return home with a championship trophy in hand. Only one team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals and that team was led by LeBron James. The Miami Heat aren’t about to give up but their chances of beating the Lakers are slim to none.
However, there’s still a major award that could be decided in Game 5. The race for Finals MVP is between Anthony Davis and LeBron. Davis doesn’t have as good of offensive stats as LeBron but his impact on defense can’t be ignored. Most would probably peg LeBron as the favorite to win but former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker believes Davis has the edge.
“Right now, I still believe he’s behind AD to win this MVP award,” Walker said on FS1’s First Things First. “If you really look at this series and how this series has went, LeBron James hasn’t been that great this series. He’s had 14 turnovers in the last two games, hasn’t been that great offensively … AD’s been the most consistent and defensively, the job that AD did on Jimmy Butler, as far as forcing him away from the basket.”
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LeBron Is Still Likely to Win Finals MVP
Davis’ defense against Jimmy Butler in Game 4 was masterful and he deserves a lot of credit for slowing down the Heat’s best player. That said, the Finals MVP is still LeBron’s award to lose. According to an ESPN panel, 67% believe that LeBron should win MVP and 83% believe he will win. Here’s what ESPN had to say:
With all due respect to Davis, it’s hard to argue that a guy can be the most valuable player in a series in which his teammate scores more points, grabs more rebounds and dishes out more assists. Especially considering the Lakers likely would have swept the Heat if not for Davis’ off night in Game 3, when foul trouble limited him to 15 points, five rebounds and a minus-26 in 33 minutes.
Davis has been really good for the most part but his disappearing act in Game 3 is going to work against him. Also, LeBron is the clear leader of the team and while he hasn’t been playing his best basketball, he’s certainly still playing at an elite level. This could be the last Finals MVP he’s able to win. After this year, it’s likely Davis’ time to take over the Lakers while LeBron serves as the team’s number two.
Davis Has Nothing to Be Upset About if LeBron Wins
Even if Davis doesn’t win his first Finals MVP this year, he’s done a lot this postseason to change the narrative about him. When he was with the New Orleans Pelicans, nobody thought he could lead a team to a championship. He’s been excellent in the playoffs and in the Finals despite some down games.
It’s easy to forget that Davis scored 34 points in Game 1 of the Finals and 32 points in Game 2. While LeBron has been slightly more consistent, there’s no doubt the Lakers wouldn’t have gotten this far if Davis wasn’t playing so well.