Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler put it all on the line last night against the Los Angeles Lakers. His performance carried his squad over their opponents by a final score of 115-104.
Butler scored a playoff-career high 40 points while shooting a tremendous 70 percent from the field (14/20) and 85.7 percent from the free-throw line (12/14). He also recorded his first career playoff triple double, dishing out 13 assists and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Miami was without their big man Bam Adebayo and starting guard Goran Dragic for the second consecutive game due to injury. With a big challenge ahead, the Heat knew heading into the game that it wouldn’t be easy; however, they understood that going down 3-0 in the Finals was not an option.
Miami jumped out to a strong start as they took a 20-9 lead. The Lakers, on the other hand, were shooting themselves in the foot early with multiple turnovers; they had 10 at the end of the first quarter.
Anthony Davis, who looked very well in the first two games, did not find his rhythm in game three. He picked up three fouls in the first half, which gave Miami an easier time to attack the basket and distribute the ball quickly. Davis ended the game with 15 points and five rebounds.
The Lakers and Heat battled back-and-forth during the first half; Butler’s 19 first half points, along with Jae Crowder’s 10, gave the Heat a 58-54 lead going into the break.
Miami continued their tenacity in the second half by going on a 10-0 run. Anthony Davis committed his fourth foul early in the third quarter but stayed in the game. Davis did not play aggressive from there, due to the chance of fouling out.
Butler kept the aggression on as he drove to the bucket with 21 seconds remaining in the third. He made both of his free throws to give himself 30 points through three quarters of play. The Lakers stayed in it though, losing 85-80 heading into the final quarter.
LeBron James tried to spark his offense as he drove to the paint and scored while drawing the foul. He converted on the free-throw and cut the lead down to two. James finished the game with 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Later on, Lakers’ guard Rajon Rondo attacked the paint and made his layup to give his team the lead with 8:55 remaining. That would be their last lead of the game.
Butler tied the game up at 91, Kelly Olynyk nailed a three to give Butler his 10th assist and put Miami up 94-91. Rookie Tyler Herro nailed a three to give his team a six-point lead. From there, the Heat were in control and their opponents could not come back.
The Lakers are now up in the NBA Finals 2-1. Game four will take place Tuesday night at 9:00 pm.