NBA Finals 2020: LeBron James’ Lakers coronation has to wait as Heat force Game 6 | NBA News

NBA Finals 2020: LeBron James’ Lakers coronation has to wait as Heat force Game 6 | NBA News

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LeBron James’ ambition of a first NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers was put on hold by the Miami Heat and a spectacular Game 5 performance by Jimmy Butler.


Live NBA: LA Lakers @ Miami GM6


Monday 12th October 12:15am

James flexed his muscles high above his black Lakers jersey, looking too strong to stop.

He had just scored while being fouled, finishing a three-point play that gave Los Angeles a one-point lead with 1:34 remaining. When the Lakers fell behind again, he put back his own missed shot to give them a lead again with 58 seconds to go.



LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball while Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat plays defense during Game Five of the NBA Finals




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LeBron James and Jimmy Butler put on masterful performances with some big plays down the stretch of Game Five

James was trying to do everything it took to knock out the Miami Heat and deliver the Lakers a championship, but he needed one more chance.

He couldn’t get it.

James finished with 40 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, but gave up the ball to Danny Green for a wide-open three-pointer and couldn’t get it back on the Lakers’ possession in the waning seconds of a 111-108 loss on Friday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

The Lakers took their last timeout after Jimmy Butler’s free throws gave the Heat a 107-106 lead with 16 seconds to play. James drove and then passed out of a double-team to Green, who was short on the open three-pointer.



Jimmy Butler guards LeBron James in Game 5 of the NBA Finals




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Highlights of Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers

“He was ready to take on the whole team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He had two guys on him. A third defender came and so with three guys on you, he made the right play. Danny is one of our best shooters, he had a great look, and we live with the results.”

James felt the same way. He has always believed in making the right pass instead of forcing a bad shot, and Green’s miss won’t change that.

“I mean, if you just look at the play, I was able to draw two defenders below the free throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for a wide-open three to win a championship,” James said. “I trusted him, we trusted him, and it just didn’t go. You live with that.”

Markieff Morris got the rebound and tried to throw the ball inside to Anthony Davis but misfired it out of bounds while James stood helplessly near the right sideline.



LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Miami Heat during Game Five of the NBA Finals




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LeBron James dropped 40 points, with 13 rebounds and seven assists in Laker’s Game Five loss to Heat.

If he had got the ball back, perhaps he would have scored. A few minutes later, he might have had the Larry O’Brien Trophy and then an NBA Finals MVP trophy in his hands, just as he did in 2012, 2013 and 2016.

James had never missed a chance to close out an NBA Finals series after getting to three wins. In his 259th playoff game, tying Derek Fisher for most in NBA history, he was determined to finish this one off and send everyone home after three months in the bubble.

James made six three-pointers – some so deep they looked closer to midcourt than the basket – and kept bringing the Lakers back every time they fell far behind.

Los Angeles were down by 11 points 90 seconds into the fourth quarter when James made one of those three-pointers to ignite a 17-3 surge that provided a 99-96 lead. But Butler kept making big plays from the Heat and he pulled out the winning finish that James sought.



LeBron James speaks with reporters following the Lakers' Game 5 loss in the NBA Finals




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LeBron James relished his Game 5 duel with Jimmy Butler and said the Miami Heat star was able to ‘make one more play’ to earn the victory

“He was able to make one more play than I was able to make tonight and come away with a victory,” James said.

James had one final heave after Tyler Herro’s free throws with 1.6 seconds left, but it was from near midcourt and wasn’t close.



Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball against the Miami Heat during Game Five of the NBA Finals




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LeBron James found Anthony Davis for a tomahawk slam in the first quarter of Game Five of the NBA Finals

The Lakers then walked off the floor losers for the first time in their Black Mamba jerseys, co-designed and now worn in honour of Kobe Bryant. They will have to wait until the early hours of Monday morning (12:15am), live on Sky Sports Arena, to get another chance at their first title in a decade.

It is no sure thing now. Davis was hobbling at times with a foot injury. The bench that had been so good couldn’t provide the boost James needed and the Lakers were helpless to stop Butler for the second time in the last three games.

There has been only one 3-1 lead overcome in the NBA Finals, and James was the catalyst that time with Cleveland in 2016. Now he has two more chances to prevent it.

“We have just got to be better in Game 6 and close the series,” James said.

Watch Los Angeles Lakers @ Miami Heat Game 6 live on Sky Sports Arena in the early hours of Monday morning (12:15am)

Want to watch even more of the NBA and WNBA but don’t have Sky Sports? Get the Sky Sports Action and Arena pack, click here.



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