The Heat’s bubble hasn’t burst yet. Jimmy Butler led the way again with another triple-double as Miami beat the Los Angeles Lakers 111-108 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Friday night, pulling to within 3-2 in the series.
Game 6 is Sunday night on Local 10, with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.
In a game that seemed like it was set up to be a coronation for LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers, the Heat found a way to live another day.
Butler finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and five steals. Duncan Robinson added 26 points with seven 3-pointers.
“There’s a karma to it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I thought our competitive spirit was great.”
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James pulls rebound away from Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler during the second half in Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
James scored 40 points with 13 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Lakers, who got 28 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocks from Davis.
Butler and James dueled down the stretch, but Butler sank four free throws in the final minute, and then Tyler Herro added a pair from the line for the final margin after a Lakers turnover with 2.2 seconds left.
Butler played 47 of the game’s 48 minutes, making 11 of 19 shots from the floor and all 12 of his foul shots
“That’s Jimmy Butler. That’s our max player. That’s who we go to in these moments, and he’s been producing,” said Heat center Bam Adebayo, who chipped in 13 points in his second game back after missing two with neck and shoulder injuries.
The Lakers will still have two more chances to win their 17th title, which would match the Boston Celtics for the most all-time, and a fourth championship for James.
The Heat have shown that it won’t come easily, though.
Bam: “Thats Jimmy Butler. our max player.” Also adds “I gotta be better for him.” pic.twitter.com/fCpMWqT3nA— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) October 10, 2020
Miami led by as much as 11 and remained ahead throughout the second and third quarters, but LA pulled ahead on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 3-pointer with 6:18 remaining off a setup from James.
The Heat went in front again on a 3-pointer by Robinson with 3:16 left, only for James to answer with two free throws, tying the game at 101-101.
Butler hit a jumper to put the Heat up 103-101 with 1:52 left, then James came back down and converted a three-point play as the stars continued to go back and forth.
Ultimately, with the game on the line, the Heat won it at the line. And when they needed a big stop in the final seconds, they got the ball out of James’ hands and forced a missed 3-pointer by Danny Green and a subsequent throw-away by Markieff Morris.