The Los Angles Lakers against the Miami Heat, Lakers win, take home their 17th Larry O’Brien Trophy. Heat win, they stay alive for Game 6.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter.
There were eight lead changes in the fourth quarter, six of them in the final two minutes. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most lead changes in the final two minutes of an NBA Finals game in the last twenty-five seasons.
Jimmy Butler played well. He had his second 35-point triple-double in this series. The only other player all-time with multiple 35-point triple-doubles in an NBA Finals is LeBron James.
Speaking of LeBron, he scored 40 points, shooting 71 percent from the field. That is second-most in NBA Finals history. Only Wilt Chamberlain has been better.
Those are stats.
Butler carried the Heat, pausing the Lakers’ celebration with a 111-108 win. Lakers now lead the series to 3-2.
Butler had 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists in 47 minutes of play.
“I left it all out there on the floor along with my guys,” Butler said. “That’s how we are going to have to play from here on out. This is the position we are in. We like it this way; we have two more in a row to get.”
Butler was seen slumped over behind the team’s basket before two attempted free throws in the final seconds, exhausted, making the best of a break.
The supporting cast was massive, leading with Duncan Robinson. He finished with 26 points, 7 made 3-pointers. Only Ray Allen and Stephen Curry have made more 3-pointers in a Finals game.
“It was some growth for us,” Robinson said. “We have won a bunch of close ones in the playoffs, but lost Game 4, which was a game we could have won. It showed some maturity, some growth.”
Kendrick Nunn had 14 points off the bench; Bam Adebayo had 13 in his second game back from a neck injury, Tyler Herro 12 and Jae Crowder 11.
The Heat continues to remain “underdogs,” however it is a term Butler continues to deny calling the team “competitors”; moreover, shares there are no excuses for the deficit they face. It is an uphill fight, but they are up for it.
Erik Spoelstra, though down in the series, is doing a fantastic coaching job for the Heat. He played only seven players in his rotation in Game 5; Andre Iguodala was the only player not to score; however, he could get valuable minutes to balance rest. Nunn gave the Heat invaluable help off the bench, making plays and being aggressive on both ends of the court. Robinson, along with his shooting from beyond the arc, his pursuit of the basketball was outstanding. Both combined for 40 points in a crucial game.
LeBron continues to amaze. He had 40 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists importantly put the Lakers in a position to win.
With 16.8 to play, the Lakers down one point and the possession. The Heat forced the ball out of LeBron’s hands as they collapsed on him defensively. He found Green wide open atop the key; Green’s shot attempt hit the front of the rim. Markieff Morris grabs the offensive rebound except turned it over with an attempted pass to Davis. Miami sealed the win.
Lakers played in the Kobe Bryant inspired Black Mamba uniforms. They were undefeated in those uniforms. They’re 4-1 now.
“That’s the beauty of the game, being able to compete at the highest level,” James said. “You take those opportunities; you live in the moment, make plays for your team to be successful on both ends. We were both trying to do that; try to will our team a victory. He was able to make one more play than I was able to tonight and come up with the victory.”
Lakers also have a concern about Davis’ injury. He re-aggravated his right foot; they are calling it a right heel contusion. Without hesitation, he shared he was playing in Game 6.
The pressure is on the Lakers; the Heat are playing with house money. If Davis’ injury is more severe than it appears to be, LeBron may have to win this series with a herculean effort. LeBron and Davis combined for 68 points in a loss.
Lakers will need to get the series over in Game 6.
The beat goes on.
Game 6 is Sunday night.