Lakers vs Heat: Jimmy Butler Scores 40 to Keep Miami's Hopes Alive
Jimmy Butler exploded with a historic triple-double to put the Miami Heat Back into the NBA Finals and cut the Los Angeles Lakers series lead to 2-1.
Jimmy Butler finished Game 3 with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists to lead the Heat to a 115-104 victory over the Lakers, Sunday, October 5, in Lake Buena Vista.
Butler scored his 19 points in the first half alone wherein he also managed six rebounds, six assists and two steals.
After Game 2, Butler said that he does not care if they are 2-0; they are still expected to win.
After Game 1 when Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo suffered injuries and were indefinitely ruled out of the Finals series, Butler said it does not matter, they have to move forward as this is the championship.
And, Jimmy Butler and the Heat did just that. They refused to make injuries to two of their key players an excuse. Never mind that Dragic is their leading scorer throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, never mind that they had to change their starting lineup for the first time in the playoffs.
The Heat formulated a game plan to upset the Lakers without Dragic and Adebayo and stuck with it. And, it worked.
Aside from a triple-double, Jimmy Butler was also the Heat's go-to option in defending LeBron James in critical moments.
He also added two steals and two blocks and shot 14 of 20 from the field while the rest of his teammates combined for just 27 of 60.
The All-Star wing almost singlehandedly hauled the Heat past the Lakers and kept them in contention for the NBA title.
The Heat had waxed hot from the get-go, and they stayed ahead of the Lakers for most of Game 3.
The Lakers, for all their greatness, only managed to grab the lead six times and never by more than four points while the Heat was able to stretch their advantage by as much as 14 points in the third quarter.
When the Lakers started the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run for a 91-89 lead; the Heat matched it with an 8-0 run of their own. From there it was an all Jimmy Butler show as he either scored or assisted all of the Heat's score.
He was simply the best out there as he made each minute of the 45 minutes that he played count.
The Lakers big men in Anthony Davis and James paled in comparison to Jimmy Butler as both combined for only 40 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists.
Davis got into an awful start and was held to just five points in the second quarter. Although he warmed up into the game, he also committed a lot of turnovers.
James, for his part, had a good game but committed several travelling violations late in the fourth quarter.
It took a historic effort for the Heat to win Game 3 and it will be a mistake to write them off come Game 4 on Tuesday, October 6, wherein they can take it a step further and even the NBA Finals Series.
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