The Miami Heat have sent the NBA Finals to a Game 6, withstanding a furious LA Lakers comeback to win Game 5 on Friday.
Jimmy Butler out-duelled LeBron James down the stretch of one of the great NBA Finals games in history, securing a 111-108 victory with a pair of last-minute free throws to force a Game 6 on Sunday.
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Butler finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, his second career playoff triple-double.
The Heat led by 11 in the fourth quarter before the Lakers came storming home.
The Lakers actually led late the game before Butler and Duncan Robinson righted the ship to make the series 3-2.
The Lakers will be sweating on talisman centre Anthony Davis, who appeared to pick up an injury early in the game but played through it.
Fans and commentators were left in disbelief over the ‘crazy’ Game 5, with many calling it one the greatest they’d ever seen.
That was one of the greatest #NBAFinals games I’ve ever seen!— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) October 10, 2020
Imagine if this game was being played at Staples!! Would be insane!— Kelvin Washington (@Kdubblive) October 10, 2020
The Bubble has been terrific but I would have LOVED to have been there tonight! Great game! #finals #heat #NBAFinals #LA pic.twitter.com/o7beZrQMPP
One of the greatest #NBAFinals games of all time— Anthony Bernardino (@AnthonyBern305) October 10, 2020
That was one of the greatest #NBAFinals games EVER!!! What a performance by Jimmy Butler!!!! I love my Miami Heat!!!! Wow!!!— Rene Toledo Jr. (@renetoledojr) October 10, 2020
What an insane game.— Nathan Brookes (@BrookesyNat) October 10, 2020
Butler and LeBron just amazing.#NBAFinals
Danny Green misses championship-winning shot
The Heat watched Danny Green’s wide-open 3-pointer in the final seconds bounce off the rim on the way to winning Game 5.
Robinson had 26 points for Miami, who used seven players. Kendrick Nunn had 14 points, Bam Adebayo 13, Tyler Herro 12 and Jae Crowder 11. The seventh player, Andre Iguodala, didn’t score.
They had enough.
James had 40 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers. Davis scored 28 points, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 16.
The Lakers were seconds away from the title before the Heat rallied to save the season.
Los Angeles broke out all the stops: Davis had shiny gold sneakers on, the hue similar to the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and the team made the decision earlier in the week to skip on the scheduled purple uniforms and wear the black ones designed and inspired by Kobe Bryant instead.
They were 4-0 in those uniforms. They’re 4-1 now.
Robinson’s 3-pointer with 3:13 left put Miami up by two, and started a stretch where the next nine scoring possessions from either side resulted in a tie or a lead change.
Back and forth they went. Butler got fouled with 46.7 seconds left, then slumped over the baseline video boards, clearly exhausted.
He made both foul shots for a one-point lead; Davis’ putback with 21.8 seconds left got the Lakers back on top.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra used his last timeout before the ensuing possession, just to buy Butler a couple minutes of rest. Butler drove the lane, drew contact and made both with 16.8 seconds left for a 109-108 lead.
The Lakers’ mission at that point could not have been more simple: Get a basket, win a title.
They couldn’t do it. James found Green all alone for a top-of-the-key 3-pointer which missed, and Herro finished it off with two free throws.
with Associated Press
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