Butler’s Historic Triple-Double Propels HEAT to Victory Over Lakers in Game 3

Jimmy Butler
Photo Credit: Douglas P. DeFelice
by Joe Beguiristain
HEAT.com

Entering Game 3, there was a lot of outside chatter about the HEAT being overmatched with Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragić out.

But Jimmy Butler wasn’t having any of it.

Thanks to a masterful triple-double by Butler and some key contributions from Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk, Miami defeated the Lakers 115-104 Sunday night at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando to narrow L.A.’s series lead to 2-1.

Let’s get right to it.

1. Butler Joins Some Elite Company

Simply put, Butler had a game for the ages.

From the opening tip, the 31-year-old just orchestrated everything for the HEAT and attacked the basket time and time again.

Sometimes those dribble drives resulted in smooth fallaway jumpers, while others produced tough finishes like this one late in the fourth:

(He scored 40 on that play, by the way.)

Oh yeah, we can’t forget that he dished out 13 assists once again, including this great feed to Olynyk (more on KO later):

Naturally, Butler also emptied the tank defensively and made things as tough as possible on LeBron James and Rajon Rondo.

Talk about a complete performance.

When it was all said and done, Butler amassed a game and playoff career-high 40 points (10 in the fourth) on 14-of-20 shooting from the field and 12-of-14 from the line, a game and playoff career-high 13 assists (as mentioned before), a game-high 11 rebounds, a game-high two steals (tied with Duncan Robinson, Olynyk, Rondo and Anthony Davis), a game-high two blocks (tied with James) and a plus-20 rating in 44:51 of action.

In doing so, he joined James and Jerry West as the only players in NBA history to record a 40-point triple-double in the Finals. He also became the first HEAT player to score 30 points through three quarters in a Finals game since Dwyane Wade in 2006.

That’s some elite company.

2. Herro Comes Alive Late

After struggling through three quarters, Herro made some big-time buckets down the stretch to help the HEAT remain in control.

And while a three was part of the equation, nothing touches this coast-to-coast drive and finish with contact over Rondo:

The snarl says it all.

Herro finished with 17 points (eight in the fourth) on 6-of-18 shooting from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from the charity stripe, three boards, two assists and one steal.

3. KO Stays Sharp

As usual, Olynyk did his thing on the offensive end with handoffs, treys and finishes inside, but he also played strong help defense at the rim.

And perhaps his best sequence of the evening came on this heads-up steal from behind on James late in the fourth:

That's a winning play.

Olynyk ended up with 17 points (seven in the fourth) on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from deep, and a perfect 4-of-4 from the line, seven boards, a game-high two steals and one assist.

Other Takeaways:

-Jae Crowder fronted Davis very well and made him earn everything. Of course, he also knocked down some threes and cut to the basket en route to a 12-point, eight-rebound, one-assist, plus-21 night.

-In addition to showing his defensive versatility, Andre Iguodala also displayed ridiculous basketball IQ with this remarkable touch pass to Olynyk late in the third:

Iguodala concluded with two points on 1-of-2 shooting, three assists and one rebound.

Game Note:

-Kyle Alexander, Dragić (Left Foot Torn Plantar Fascia), KZ Okpala and Gabe Vincent (Right Knee Soreness) were inactive. Adebayo (Neck Strain) was an active scratch.

Looking Ahead:

-Game 4 will be on Tuesday at 9PM. While the game will exclusively be on ABC, you can catch the pre and postgame shows on either FOX Sports Sun or HEAT.com.

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