Miami Heat defeated LA Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
With 16.8 seconds left and 108-109 on the scoreboard, all that LA Lakers had to do is to get one basket to clinch their record-equalling 17th NBA title. However, it wasn’t meant to be as Miami Heat held their nerves to pull off a 111-108 win in Game 5 of the 2020 NBA Finals, again on the broad and strong shoulders of Jimmy Butler.
Though star rookie Tyler Herro wrapped up the game with two free throws to keep his team in the equation, Butler’s 47-minute triple-double performance (35p, 11a, 12r) forced a Game 6. The 31-year old became only the sixth player in NBA Finals history to record multiple triple-doubles in the same title series. He credited his teammates for his exceptional performance.
“I got a hell of a group of guys around me that make my job a lot easier. I’m fortunate for those guys because when I pass it to them, they make shots. When I get beat going to the rim, they’re there. So, we’re in this thing together and they give me a lot of confidence to go out there and hoop,” said a visibly exhausted Butler.
The Heat had a slender one-point lead at the end of the first quarter and looked to build on it in the next one, however, LeBron James scored 15 points in the second to ensure the Heat don’t run away with the game. After attaining a four-point lead at the end of the first half, the Heat scored 28 points in the third quarter to lead by six points at 88-82.
The Lakers and Heat exchanged leads multiple times in the final quarter, however, Butler laboured his way through and ensured that Heat will continue to fight for the title in Game 6 on Sunday.
“Jimmy’s will to win is remarkable. To do that in 47-plus minutes and take the challenge on the other end, every young player coming into this league should study footage on Jimmy Butler. He competed on both ends and made big plays down the stretch for us offensively,” said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
James, who top-scored for the Lakers with 40 points, said that Miami Heat makes their opponents pay for every mistake they make. He remarked, “One thing about this team that we are playing, they make you pay for every mistake. It’s the same as when I was playing against Golden State all those years, you make a mistake, they make you pay. So, we have to understand that.”
The Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is confident that his team will bounce back from this defeat. Vogel said, “We were very close. I felt two bad calls at the end put Butler to the line, you know, and that’s unfortunate in a game of this magnitude.”
“Anthony Davis has a perfect verticality, should be a play on. And the time before that, Markieff Morris has his hands on the ball, that should be a play on. Very disappointed in that aspect of the game, but our group’s fine. We’re going to bounce back strong,” he concluded.