The 2020 NBA Finals matchup is officially set (Game 1 on Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET on ABC). LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets on Saturday to advance to the Finals for the first time since 2010. On Sunday, the Miami Heat closed out the Boston Celtics to punch their ticket. They have not been to the Finals since James left as a free agent in 2014.
This will be James' 10th Finals appearance but his first against his former team. The three-time Finals MVP won two titles with the Heat and a third with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. Both the Heat and the Lakers missed the playoffs last season.
After the Heat clinched, players and Heat alumni congratulated the team few expected at the start of the season to be one of the final two standing.
Damn. Legendary. Blessed to play for you. 🙏🏼🤝🔨 pic.twitter.com/HXtAnwdoNC— Meyers Leonard (@MeyersLeonard) September 28, 2020
My Rock 💙 https://t.co/o0JNdYDr4J— 13am Adebayo💥 (@Bam1of1) September 28, 2020
thankful for the culture, a moment. pic.twitter.com/wzCKrw1ZtE— solomon hill (@solohill) September 28, 2020
FACTS BRO https://t.co/ggnNg7Bfns— Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) September 28, 2020
Chapeau Spo and the Heat!! Character, effort, team work, great to watch. Congrats! 👏👏👏— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) September 28, 2020
Spoelstras underrated. Tyler Herros fearless. And Iggys a winner. Butler blazed his own trail and thrives under pressure. Gonna be a great #NBAFinals— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) September 28, 2020
@andre in the finals again. 🔥— Baze (@24Bazemore) September 28, 2020
Happy for @JimmyButler 💪🏽— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) September 28, 2020
Bam Adebayo with 32-14-5 is a TOP 3 Big in the Game!!! DEM GOONS were in that DARK ALLEY waiting tonight. Carry on...— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) September 28, 2020
I am happy for @Goran_Dragic !!— Beno Udrih (@BenoUdrih1) September 28, 2020
BIG FACE COFFEE FOR EVERYONE haha on Jimmy tho— DWade (@DwyaneWade) September 28, 2020
James and the Lakers were congratulated on social media on Saturday night after they emerged from the West, one of the teams many thought could make a deep playoff run before the season began.
Job not finished.... pic.twitter.com/Y0ITxoRN6m— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) September 27, 2020
Lebron Lebron Lebron... We take him for granted so often!— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) September 27, 2020
#17 go @Lakers— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorld37) September 28, 2020
Happy for the Lakers and the fan base. Their fans deserve it— Josh Hart (@joshhart) September 27, 2020
Others shared their excitement over the matchup between James and his former team.
Bron locked in. Bron v Heat in the finals 👀— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) September 27, 2020
The million dollar question is who will @DwyaneWade be cheering for?? His former team, the Heat, or his best friend LeBron James 🤔😂— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 28, 2020
Some thought the Lakers would be here in the NBA Finals -- and not many thought of the Heat -- but there was one player who had the foresight to call this matchup. JR Smith was a free agent in February, but his prediction game was on point.
JR Smith got the Lakers and Heat making the NBA Finals pic.twitter.com/G7wkKADMy7— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 26, 2020