After two one-sided affairs in the NBA Finals, Game 3 turned out to be a riveting contest. The LA Lakers were expected to sweep the floor once again but foul trouble to key players and untimely turnovers from LeBron James and Anthony Davis helped the Miami Heat secure a win. Jimmy Butler led the cause for the Eastern Conference outfit with 40 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds.
Miami Heat enjoy the advantage early on
Both teams started off slowly with shots not falling for either party. Tyler Herro hasn't had the greatest of runs in the NBA Finals and missed pretty much everything from the field early on in Game 3.
Anthony Davis got into foul trouble and the LA Lakers failed to impose their authority. LeBron James had to take over proceedings entirely as a result.
The Miami Heat were still without the services of Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic both of whom missed their second consecutive game. But Jimmy Butler stepped up to the occasion and led both teams in scoring in the first half with 19 points as the Miami Heat led LA Lakers 58-54 going into the break.
LA Lakers reclaim the lead
The likes of Duncan Robinson, Kelly Olynyk, and Herro started to make a few shots early into the third as the Miami Heat took control of proceedings, leading by as many as 14 points. Jimmy Butler also continued on his exploits. However, the LA Lakers didn't sit quietly. Davis finally found his mojo as the Purple and Gold retaliated.
The bench came up big for the LA Lakers on the night. On the back of some impressive three-point shooting from Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma, the Purple and Gold went on a 20-6 run and reclaimed the lead. The playmaking of LeBron James helped the aforementioned duo find open looks.
Jimmy Butler forces the issue for Miami Heat as LeBron James disappoints
From there onwards though, it became the Jimmy Butler show. Butler demanded the possession of the ball from his Miami Heat teammates as he drove to the cup and got many calls. His mid-range game was impeccable as well. Butler was ably supported by Herro and Robinson.
The LA Lakers couldn't find much rhythm after their burst initially during the fourth quarter and LeBron James committed a few costly turnovers as well. Eventually, the Miami Heat defense held on to secure the franchise's first victory in the 2020 NBA Finals.
The LA Lakers still lead the NBA Finals 2-1 but this game would give Jimmy Butler and Miami Heat – who have been playing with two key players – the hope of pulling off a comeback. LeBron James has some work to do.
After the game, Jimmy Butler received the deserved plaudits for his 40-point triple-double.
LeBron James ended the game with 25 points and was just two assists shy of a triple-double, however, he had a whopping eight turnovers.
Despite the loss, Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma played really well today and had 19 points apiece. The duo received their plaudits.
Published 05 Oct 2020, 08:26 IST