The Orlando Bubble experience was quite overwhelming for almost every team on the card. 95 days away from the family and the outside world came at a cost for the players. Many challenges faced these players and ultimately, the Los Angeles Lakers came out on the top.
But, in the victory of the Lakers, many believed that the stars were aligned to gift them the title. Leaving Avery Bradley aside, none of the Lakers left the bubble or got injured during the entire course. Even Rajon Rondo came back right on time. Plus, they met with neither the Clippers nor the Bucks in their path towards the ultimate win. Lastly, the team never had to play more than five games before the finals.
So was the road really easy for them? Was there an asterisk to the Lakers’ triumph?
In a recent interview, the head coach Frank Vogel explained how the Lakers had to put in that extra grind to make it that deep into the playoffs. They perhaps had to endure a lot of criticism and judgment before they could finally win it all.
The coach expressed, “To endure that type of intense pressure environment, where every detail is scrutinized, where the intensity was high.” He then added, “to endure those meetings with no outlet of family, or whatever single guys would be doing, without an outlet, was one of the biggest challenges. It was a credit to all the participants to lean on and to support each other.”
The Lakers appointed coach Frank Vogel in 2019 itself and he was always very vocal about his ambitions to win that 17th title. Many videos from the Lakers’ locker room suggested how effectively and emotionally coach Frank made use of the emotions from Kobe’s loss to ingrain aggression into his unit.
Pat Riley, the President of the Miami Heat, earlier raised serious questions on the credibility of the Lakers’ victory. He infamously said that there will always be an asterisk, as the results would have been different had Bam and Goric been at their 100%. This comment attracted strong outrage in comments from the Lakers fans, forcing Riley to come back and clarify the asterisk was on the Miami Heat and not on the Lakers.
Critics and several NBA analysts still believe that LeBron James and his men had an easy path in 2019-20. This, because there was no Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving or Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson playing for the whole season. But one must also take into account coach Vogel’s comments that the bubble posed a challenge in itself, and the Lakers won because they could endure it in unison.
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