Behind Another Triple-Double From Jimmy Butler, HEAT Stave Off Elimination & Take Game 5
Defeat Lakers 111-108
Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler
When asked about the stress of being down 3-1 during his media availability on Thursday, a fiery Erik Spoelstra delivered a poignant message.
“It’s the first team to four wins. There’s a lot of different narratives out there. We don’t give a [expletive] what everybody else thinks…our guys are the ones who are out there in the arena marred by dust, blood, sweat and tears…and that’s right where they are meant to be.”
Thanks to the HEAT’s competitive spirit and never-say-die attitude, they defeated the Lakers 111-108 Friday night at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando to cut the series deficit to 3-2.
Let’s get into how it all went down.
1. Jimmy Does It Again
As usual, Jimmy Butler ran the show and did absolutely everything for Miami from start to finish.
Despite having Anthony Davis on him once again, Butler wasn’t fazed and went right at the near 7-footer early on and finished tough plays inside and feathery mid-range jumpers.
In fact, he became the first player in NBA playoff history to rack up 22 points, six boards, six assists and three steals in a first half.
But what he did later in the game was even more impressive.
After the break, Butler started to take advantage of switches and fight on the offensive glass like this:
Then down the stretch, he went back and forth with LeBron James, defended the three-time Finals MVP and scored eight of the HEAT’s final 10 points, including two big free throws that put his team up for good.
If there was one moment that exemplified just how much Butler emptied the tank, it was this sequence after he drew a foul on Markieff Morris late in the fourth:
For the culture.
When it was all said and done, Butler amassed a team-high 35 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the line, a team-high 12 rebounds, a game-high 11 assists, a game-high five steals, one block and a plus-five rating in 47:12 of action. In doing so, he became the sixth player to record multiple triple-doubles in an NBA Finals.
2. Duncan Goes Off
Although Duncan Robinson played pretty well in Game 4, he didn’t quite have the type of performance he’s capable of.
But he certainly did in Game 5.
From the opening tip, Robinson moved off the ball extremely well and aggressively hunted shots. And while that was really on display in a 10-point third quarter for him, his most impactful play came late in the fourth when Miami desperately needed a bucket.
On the flip side of the ball, Robinson competed hard against multiple guys and even drew a charge on James early in the fourth.
Whatever it takes.
Robinson finished with a playoff career-high 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, including 7-of-13 from deep (tied a playoff franchise record once again), and a perfect 3-of-3 from the line, five boards, two assists, one steal and a team-high plus-seven rating.
3. Nunn Provides A Spark
After struggling a bit over the past three games, Kendrick Nunn stuck with it, showed poise and provided a major spark off the bench.
As been the case for most of the year, Nunn did a ton of damage off the dribble and either scored from all three levels or found his teammates with solid feeds.
Just take a look at this vital step-back three early in the fourth:
Nunn ended up with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-4 from distance, four rebounds, three assists and a plus-three rating.
-With his 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting, Tyler Herro scored in double-figures for the 20th-consecutive game, which is the longest such streak by any rookie in NBA postseason history.
Not to mention, Herro drilled two clutch free throws to keep Miami ahead and concluded with three assists and one rebound to go along with his aforementioned 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-3 from long range.
-Kyle Alexander, Goran Dragić (Left Foot Torn Plantar Fascia), KZ Okpala and Gabe Vincent (Right Knee Soreness) were inactive.
-Game 6 will be on Sunday at 7:30PM. While the game will exclusively be on ABC, you can catch the pre and postgame shows on either FOX Sports Sun or HEAT.com.