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Sports Illustrated NBA Commemorative 2020

Sports Illustrated NBA Commemorative 2020

Sports Illustrated NBA Special Championship Commemorative Issue 2020
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Through emotional storytelling and award-winning photography, Sports Illustrated provides you with complete coverage of all your favorite sports, including the NFL, College Football, Baseball, College Basketball, the NBA and more.

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United States
Meredith Corporation

in this issue

12 min.
one for the books

ON THE night when the NBA’s most glamorous franchise won the league’s least glamorous edition of the postseason, the sport’s biggest star did the grunt work. LeBron James had given self-care his best shot in the bubble. He had one of the two big suites on the Lakers’ floor at the Gran Destino in Orlando, two doors down from Anthony Davis. He had a wine fridge in there, and a hyperbaric sleep chamber for his daily naps. He did all of it so he would be ready for a night like this. He guarded Heat star Jimmy Butler for long stretches of the decisive Game 6. He took hits to his midsection and his face; he tried to draw a charge, failed, ran down the court, got the ball after a…

1 min.
the season


4 min.
show of force

WHEN WE look back on the pandemic-stricken 2019–20 NBA season, one of the more bizarre footnotes will be that the league handed out an award called the NBA Player of the Seeding Games. In other words: Bubble MVP. Portland point guard Damian Lillard won it with a performance (37.6 points per game, 44 threes in eight games) that carried the Trail Blazers into the playoffs. They arrived in Orlando as one of five Western Conference teams looking to elevate themselves into a playoff spot, then qualified for the postseason by going 6–2 in the seeding round before beating the Grizzlies in a play-in game. With Lillard draining shots from just across half court, forward Carmelo Anthony looking revived, and center Jusuf Nurki´c healthy, TNT commentator Charles Barkley actually predicted the…

4 min.
rocked out

FOR THE SECOND straight series of the postseason, Los Angeles dropped its opening game, this time to Houston and James Harden 112–97. But while in Round 1 L.A. simply ran into a Trail Blazers team riding a hot hand after their charge to qualify for the playoffs, the Rockets posed a more serious threat. They looked like a team constructed to give the supersized Lakers fits. Houston attacked with the most unconventional roster of any team in recent memory, taking its small-ball concept to the absolute limit after a shocking four-team trade in February that jettisoned 6' 10" center Clint Capela and brought back 6' 5" wing Robert Covington. The new acquisition became the team’s tallest starter: Covington took over at power forward while 6' 7" P.J. Tucker moved to center.…

4 min.
not this time

ENTERING GAME 5 of the series with Denver, LeBron James knew that a win would mean a trip to the NBA Finals for the 10th time in his 17-year career. Seizing his first Western Conference championship would provide something else of high value: at least three days of rest. “In a closeout game for me personally, I’m just as desperate as the team we’re trying to close out,” James said. “I don’t want to play another game.” He didn’t have to, thanks to a 117–107 win that ended the Nuggets’ remarkable playoff run, one in which they came back from a 3–1 deficit in each of the first two rounds. James, of course, knows all about getting out of a 3–1 hole. With the Cavaliers, he pulled off the most famous…

14 min.
the finals

GAME 1 THE NBA FINALS JUST GOT STARTED, BUT THE FIRST GAME LEFT OBSERVERS PONDERING A SIMPLE QUESTION: ARE THE NBA FINALS OVER? Forget the final score of Lakers 116, Heat 98. Los Angeles led by 30 halfway through the third quarter. After that, the teams were not playing meaningful basketball. They were providing content. It is hard to imagine how Game 1 could have gone worse for Miami. Its three stars all got hurt. Goran Dragi´c suffered a plantar fascia tear in his foot, Bam Adebayo aggravated a shoulder injury, and Jimmy Butler rolled an ankle. Butler kept playing, but Dragi´c and Adebayo did not. Also, it became obvious that nobody on the Heat can consistently guard Anthony Davis—though to be fair to Miami, when Pat Riley built the roster, he was limited…