Heat center Bam Adebayo wants no part of a coronation of LeBron James and his Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals Friday night.
“We’ve got a chance. We still believe,” Adebayo said Thursday. “They’re writing us off. Everybody is doubting us. But as long as the people in the locker room and all our coaching staff have belief in us, that’s all that matters.”
The Lakers are up 3-1 in the series, one win away from LeBron’s fourth ring, with three different franchises. The Lakers dominated the first two games, and after winning Game 4 thanks to Anthony Davis‘ defense and LeBron taking over late, the conventional wisdom is the Lakers will close out the series Friday night. LeBron James closes out series when he gets the chance, always has. L.A. is even breaking out the Mamba jerseys for the occasion.
“Ain’t nobody thinking about going home over here,” Jimmy Butler said. “It’s just win, so there is no pressure. We’re expected to win. That’s our job. It’s not win or go home, it’s win or win. That’s how we think about it.”
“Look, we think it’s a really competitive series,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We have a purpose of why we’re here. We’re competing for a title, and it’s the first team to four wins. There’s a lot of different narratives out there. We don’t give a s*** what everybody else thinks. This is everything that we wanted this year, an opportunity to fight for, compete for a title, and that hasn’t changed at all through these first games.”
Outside the bubble, the expectation is the Lakers will waltz to a 17th championship Friday night. If the Lakers believe that, then the Heat — a gritty, scrappy, hard to play against team — will put the champagne back in the fridge for at least another couple of days. They aren’t ready to leave the bubble yet.