Heat wins Game 5 of NBA Finals over Lakers

Heat wins Game 5 of NBA Finals over Lakers


Robinson, the all-star forward insisted, needed to shake off his jitters and let it fly.

“Duncan needs to shoot the ball a lot more,” Butler said. “He needs to hunt shots because he’s going to be a reason that we win one of these games. He’s going to hit six [or] seven three-pointers, and I’m going to jump up and down, and I’m going to give him a big hug, maybe a slight kiss on the back of his head. I know how important that guy is to our team.”

Sure enough, Robinson made Butler look prophetic, and Butler handled the rest.

In a tense contest that went down to the wire, Butler finished with a team-high 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and five steals to lead the Heat to a 111-108 victory on Friday. Butler scored six straight points for Miami down the stretch, including a pair of go-ahead free throws, as he went back and forth with LeBron James. But it was Robinson’s unexpected breakthrough that put the Heat in position to narrow the Lakers’ series lead to 3-2 and force a Game 6 on Sunday.

Robinson, who had been quiet all series, drilled seven three-pointers and scored 26 points. His seventh three-pointer put Miami ahead with under four minutes to play, and the Heat was able to escape when Danny Green missed an open three-pointer on a pass from James on the Lakers’ final possession.

“I was able to draw two defenders below the free throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of a key for a wide open three to win a championship,” James said. “I trusted him. I know [Green] wishes he could have it again. I wish I could make a better pass. You live with it.”

Before the tight endgame, there was total silence and a nausea-inducing sense of deja vu. Late in the first quarter, Anthony Davis fell to the court clutching the back of his right foot.

Davis, who has been sensational throughout the playoffs, remained on the court for an extended period, surrounded by teammates and medical personnel. Eventually, he rose and walked gingerly to the bench, choosing not to go back to the locker room. The Lakers looked stunned without him, falling into a nine-point hole before word spread that disaster had been averted. Davis had suffered only a right heel contusion, not an Achilles’ injury like the one that felled Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant in last year’s Finals.

Los Angeles needed a few minutes to regain its composure as Butler capitalized on Davis’s absence. Hounded by Davis throughout Game 4, Butler pounded the Lakers’ other defenders to score 22 points in the first half as the Heat built an 11-point second-quarter lead.

James looked for his own offense to steady the ship, scoring 21 first-half points before finishing with game-high 40 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in defeat. It was just his second loss in his past 18 closeout opportunities, and he watched as Davis sprained his left ankle in the fourth quarter and hobbled through the game’s closing minutes.

“I prepare my mind and prepare my body for the moment,” James said Thursday. “Just having that desperation coming to a closeout game. I’ve been victorious having that mind-set. But that’s just who I’ve become and how I’ve challenged and channeled my mind-set. Living in the moment and not taking it for granted and just channeling that desperation.”

Los Angeles had looked fierce, focused and dressed for their championship moment coming out of the gate. Dwight Howard set a physical tone early during a tangle with Butler that led to double technical fouls, and the Lakers regularly found success converting Heat turnovers into transition opportunities. Once he returned to the game, Davis got back up to speed, hitting a deep three-pointer before halftime and resuming his defensive responsibilities on Butler.

The Lakers donned their preferred black jerseys — a tribute to franchise legend Kobe Bryant, who died tragically in January — and Davis wore a gold pair of Bryant’s sneakers, an apparent nod to the Larry O’Brien trophy.

“For all the things that happened this season, with our team specifically and our organization, to be able to close it out in the ‘Black Mamba’ uniforms will just make it all worth it,” said Davis, whose layup with 21.8 seconds left was nearly the game-winner.

“We were very close,” Lakers Coach Frank Vogel said. “I felt two bad calls at the end put Butler to the line, and that’s unfortunate in a game of this magnitude.”

The Heat was glad to spoil the script. Six Miami players finished in double figures, including rookie guard Kendrick Nunn, who finished with 14 points and was a key first-half spark.

“We’re here to win. These next two, we’re in the trenches,” Butler said.

Find highlights from Game 5 …

October 9, 2020 at 11:22 PM EDT

Lakers take lead in fourth quarter

By Kareem Copeland

The Los Angeles Lakers have taken their first lead since the first quarter off a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three-pointer to go up 97-96 on the Miami Heat in Game 5.

The Lakers are currently on a 15-3 run spearheaded by nine combined points from LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Caldwell-Pope had just checked in and hit a huge corner three after Kyle Kuzma and Anthony Caruso had missed multiple open corner three-point attempts.

The Heat led 93-82 before the Lakers’ run began.

October 9, 2020 at 11:05 PM EDT

Heat leads Lakers 88-82 going into fourth quarter

By Kareem Copeland

A pair of four-point plays has the Miami Heat leading the Los Angeles Lakers 88-82 after the first three quarters of Game 5.

The Lakers had pulled within one point when Jae Crowder hit a three-pointer and was fouled by Rajon Rondo for the four-point play. The Lakers cut the lead to 82-80, but Duncan Robinson then hit a three and was fouled by Kyle Kuzma. A Bam Adebayo dunk on the Heat’s final possession pushed the advantage to 88-82.

Jimmy Butler has a triple double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Robinson has chipped in 20.

LeBron James has 28 points for the Lakers and Anthony Davis has 22.

October 9, 2020 at 10:53 PM EDT

Duncan Robinson draining threes

By Kareem Copeland

The Miami Heat is getting some much-needed help from 3-point specialist Duncan Robinson.

The undrafted marksman from Michigan is up to 16 points and has drained 4 of 9 from behind the arc. His latest was part of an 8-0 run to put the Heat up 78-70.

Robinson struggled at the start of the series, knocking down just 2 of 10 3-point attempts in the first two games. He’s come on strong in the last two, scoring 30 combined points and shooting 6 for 16 from long range.

Robinson is the Heat’s second leading scorer behind Jimmy Butler’s 27 points.

October 9, 2020 at 10:24 PM EDT

Heat leads Lakers 60-56 at halftime

By Kareem Copeland

Jimmy Butler hit a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining to put the Miami Heat up 60-56 at halftime as he continued the fight to stave off elimination.

Butler scored 22 points on 7 for 10 shooting in the first half to go along with six assists and six rebounds. The Heat shot 6 for 15 from behind the arc, including a pair of triples from Butler and Tyler Herro late in the second quarter to hold onto the league.

LeBron James scored 21 points on 9 for 11 shooting and Anthony Davis added 13 points as the only Lakers to score in double figures. Miami took an 11-point lead in the second quarter, but the Lakers responded with an 8-0 run to get back in the game. Los Angeles shot 56.1 percent from the floor in the first half.

October 9, 2020 at 10:05 PM EDT

Butler on a mission

By Kareem Copeland

Heat star forward Jimmy Butler is playing like a man who isn’t ready to leave the bubble.

Butler has been doing a bit of everything as the Heat got out to a 11-point lead midway through the second quarter. He scored 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists in 18 minutes of play. He’s currently shooting 6 for 8 from the field and has three steals.

Butler posted a triple double in Miami’s lone win of the series.

October 9, 2020 at 9:50 PM EDT

Heat leads 25-24 after first quarter, Davis limps off

By Kareem Copeland

The Miami Heat lead the Los Angeles Lakers 25-24 after the first quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

The biggest moment of the quarter came late when Lakers star forward Anthony Davis went down untouched and grabbed the back of his heel and ankle area. He walked off the court while the ball was still in play and sat on a nearby table. Davis then crumpled to the ground as trainers came to help. He eventually walked off the court, began to head toward the locker room before staying in the bench area trying to walk around with a pronounced limp.

The Lakers say he is available to return and that he reaggravated a heel contusion.

The Heat were perfect out of the gate and started the game 4 for 4 from the field before cooling off and going 1-7. The Lakers used a 7-0 run to take a 14-11 lead and a Davis jumper over Bam Adebayo increased the lead to 18-13.

Miami responded with a 9-0 run to take a 22-18 lead highlighted by a Duncan Robinson dunk and a Jimmy Butler midrange fade away.

October 9, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT

Lakers don ‘Black Mamba’ uniforms

By Kareem Copeland

The Los Angeles Lakers broke out their “Black Mamba” alternate uniforms for what they hope is a clinching Game 5.

The black jerseys with gold piping were originally designed by Kobe Bryant and Nike and worn in 2018. The Lakers are 4-0 when wearing them this postseason. The team was supposed to wear the uniforms in Game 2 and Game 7.

“It means something,” LeBron James said this week, per ESPN. “Something more than just a uniform. It represents an individual who gave the franchise 20 years of his blood, sweat and tears and his dedication to his craft, both on and off the floor, to make that franchise be proud of him, and hopefully vice versa.”

The team has honored Bryant all season after he died in a helicopter crash in January.

In other fashion news, Anthony Davis wore all gold custom Kobe 5s in what could be his first championship-winning game.

October 9, 2020 at 8:57 PM EDT

China to broadcast Game 5 after year-long break

By Kareem Copeland

China’s state-run television network, CCTV, is airing Game 5 of the NBA Finals after not broadcasting any of the league’s games in over a year. The station had stopped airing games since Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of protests in Hong Kong last October.

“During the recent Chinese National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, the NBA sent their well wishes to fans in China,” CCTV said in a statement, per ESPN. “We also took note of the league has been continuously delivering goodwill [to China], particularly making positive contributions to Chinese people’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic.”

The NBA’s relationship with China has been strained since Morey’s tweet. Events were canceled, broadcasting pulled and Commissioner Adam Silver has previously said the league expected to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in Chinese business.

Basketball and the NBA is hugely popular in China and the league and individual players have conducted business and had strong relationships with the country for years. The Rockets were one of the most popular teams in China since drafting Yao Ming in 2002 and the team has actively marketed to those fans.

“We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable,” the NBA said in a statement at the time. “While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them.”

October 9, 2020 at 8:01 PM EDT

What to watch for in Game 5

By Kareem Copeland

The Los Angeles Lakers look to clinch the 17th championship in franchise history Friday in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. The Lakers are coming off a 102-96 victory in Game 4.

LeBron James is chasing his fourth NBA title as he attempts to win a championship with his third organization. He’s averaged 26.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the playoffs. One story line to watch is whether James or Anthony Davis would be named MVP if the Lakers were to win. Davis is going for his first ring and has averaged 28.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks during this playoff run.

The Athletic has reported that the Heat will be without point guard Goran Dragic, again, as he deals with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot. Rookie Tyler Herro has started at guard in his place. Star forward Jimmy Butler has averaged 27.5 points and 10 assists in the Finals and the Heat will need him to shine to avoid elimination. He posted a triple double in Miami’s Game 3 victory. The Heat also need more from Bam Adebayo after he scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his Game 4 return from a neck strain that forced him to miss the previous two games.


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