The Heat had their back against the wall and they came out firing, led by Jimmy Butler, who posted a 40-point triple double.
Butler led the Heat to a crucial win to bring the series to 2-1 with Miami hoping to be buoyed by the return of all-star Bam Adeabayo and Goran Dragic for game 4.
Miami were in front from the outset and fought off the Lakers who continued to claw away at the deficit. But every time the Heat needed something, Butler was their man.
Butler was supported by an excellent performance off the bench by big man Kelly Olynik who posted 17 points while Tyler Herro fought off some poor shooting numbers to put up 17 as well.
"THEY'RE IN TROUBLE!"
Jimmy talking that talk after a clutch hoop 🗣 pic.twitter.com/r7HhXtnHLV
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 5, 2020
The Heat were helped by Anthony Davis’ foul trouble which kept him out of the play for large parts where his absence was felt.
The Lakers shooters were way off, Danny Green only managed 2 points – both from the free-throw line – as he shot 0-6 from the field. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shot 1-5 on his way to five points.
With his supporting cast not showing up it was up to LeBron James to lift his franchise, but the veteran had eight turnovers and went cold down the stretch shooting 0-3 from the perimeter in the final 8 minutes.
Butler was hungry, the 31-year-old finishing with 40 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists in a performance that places him alongside James and Jerry West as the only three players to have an NBA Finals 40-point triple-double.
Game 4: Tuesday – 9pm/et, ABC pic.twitter.com/TjT7VS3h2T
— NBA (@NBA) October 5, 2020
“Win,” Butler said of his mindset. “I don’t care about a triple-double, I don’t care about none of that. I really don’t.
“I want to win. We did that. I’m happy with the outcome.”
Butler added: “I think we realised that we belong. They can be beat[en] as long as we do what we’re supposed to do.
“Coming in next game, I know they’re [the Lakers] going to be so much better and we’ve got to be able to match that energy.”
James paid credit to his opponent after the game.
“Jimmy was phenomenal,” James said. “He did everything they needed for him to do tonight. He came through big time in a big-time game.”
James walked off the court with 10 seconds to go in a move that caused some controversy, the Lakers star was asked if he was frustrated or if it was just the time on the clock that saw him walk off.
“Both, we know that we can’t turn the ball over against this team,” James said of the team’s struggles.
“ … I take full responsibility for that.”