Jimmy Butler charged alone against the Lakers

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Miami Heat wins 115-104 and reduces the NBA final handicap to 2-1

A “stratospheric” display by Jimmy Butler on Sunday allowed the underserved Miami Heat to sensationally beat the Los Angeles Lakers 115-104 and reduce the handicap in the final of the North American Basketball League (NBA) to 2-1.

Without the company of the Slovenian base Goran Dragic and the post Bam Adebayo, for the second consecutive game, Butler called himself the team’s command and, with a display for the “legend”, reduced to “nothing” LeBron James, Anthony Davis and company .

In 44.51 minutes that were a hymn to courage, intelligence and what it means to be a leader, all with an inexhaustible capacity for resistance, Butler dominated the game, always appearing at the best level when the team threatened to give in to the greatest adversary power.

After all, the “22” of the Heat closed the game with 40 points, with 70% in the field “shots” (14 out of 20) and 85.7% in the free throws (12 and 14), 13 assists and 11 rebounds , without forgetting a huge job in defense. There was no need to launch a “triple”.

“Winning. I don’t want to know about ‘double doubles’. I don’t want to know anything about it, I really don’t want to. I want to win and that’s what we did. I’m happy about it,” said Butler, only the third player in history achieving a “double triple” with 40 points in a final, after Jerry West and LeBron James.

In an uneven fight with the Lakers, given the absence of Dragic and Adebayo, some Heat players followed the leader, namely substitute Kelly Olynyk, who left the bench to add 17 points and seven rebounds in 31.20 minutes.

Even though they weren’t always right, as together they only hit 15 out of 42 shots, Tyler Herro (17 points), Duncan Robinson (13) and Jae Crowder (12) also made important contributions to Erik Spoelstra’s “five”.

In Frank Vogel’s set, who must still be trying to understand what happened, how it was possible to miss what would never be reversed 3-0, the best was LeBron James, who added 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, but also committed eight “turnovers” and did not do well in the decisive moments.

Substitutes Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma, both with 19 points, also had positive performances, unlike Anthony Davis – who finished in 15th, with just nine field shots (scored six) – and the rest of the squad.

Once again without Dragic and Adebayo, the Miami Heat entered motivated, determined and dominated the early part of the match, reaching an advantage of 13 points (22-9), 4.16 minutes from the end of the first period.

The Lakers, with substitutes Kuzma and Morris in the spotlight, managed, however, to answer: they ended the initial period by just three points and, at the beginning of the second, completed the turnaround (33-37), with a global partial of 28-11 .

The game seemed to move along the lines of the previous ones, but then Butler (19 points, with eight in 12 in the field “shots”, six rebounds and six assists in the first half) took the lead and the marker turned again (58 -54, at halftime).

After disadvantages of 17 and 14 points in the middle of the first two games, the Heat went ahead to the second half and re-entered “big”, with a 10-0 partial, which made the difference shoot to 14 points (68- 54).

The Lakers responded with 8-0, reducing it to six points (68-62), but, again, Butler appeared to reassure the team and return it to an advantage in the tens (83-71), with only 2.10 minutes to play in the third period.

Then, the Lakers had their best phase: with a 20-6 split, topped by two Morris “triples” and two Rondo points, they returned to the front (89-91) with 8.55 minutes left.

It seemed that, finally, the Heat no longer had energy, but, once again, the “tireless” Butler appeared: in the 7.42 minutes that followed, he scored 10 points and made three assists, in a 20-9 partial that “ended” with the game (109-100).

There were 1.13 minutes to play and the “miracle” had come true. The Miami side, without two of the top three players, managed to beat the Lakers on the day Butler put on a show for the legend of the “finals”.

The NBA final continues on Tuesday, again in the Orlando “bubble”, and it is unknown what Dragic and Adebayo’s chances are yet to return.

I play at the AdventHealt Arena at the ESPN Complex in Orlando.

Miami Heat – Los Angeles Lakers, 115-104 (1-2).

At range: 58-54.

Under the arbitration of Trony Brothers, Scott Foster and Pat Fraher, the teams lined up and scored:

Miami Heat: Tyler Herro (17), Duncan Robinson (13), Jimmy Butler (40), Jae Crowder (12) and Meyers Leonard (7). They also played Andre Iguodala (2), Kelly Olynyk (17), Kendrick Nunn (4), Solomon Hill (3) and Derrick Jones Jr.

Coach: Erik Spoelstra.

Los Angeles Lakers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5), Danny Green (2), LeBron James (25), Anthony Davis (15) and Dwight Howard (4). They also played Rajon Rondo (4), Kyle Kuzma (19), Markieff Morris (19), Alex Caruso (8) and JR Smith (3).

Coach: Frank Vogel.

Marker’s march: 26-23 (first period), 58-54 (interval), 85-80 (third period) and 115-104 (final result).

Assistance: Game played behind closed doors due to the covid-19 pandemic.



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