HEAT Hang On To Beat Lakers In Finals Rematch

Kendrick Nunn
Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein
by Joe Beguiristain

One hundred thirty-two days after falling to the Lakers in Game 6 of the Finals, the HEAT defeated LA 96-94 Saturday night at Staples Center.

And while it wasn’t always the prettiest display of basketball, the fact is Miami made enough plays late to finish the game and come away victorious.

Let’s get into some takeaways.

1. Jimmy Shows Mental Toughness

Although Jimmy Butler saw his triple-double streak come to an end, he still had his fingerprints all over this one.

After the Lakers stormed back from an early double-digit deficit and took a brief lead in the third quarter, Butler responded with some tough drives and strong defense to get the HEAT back in front.

Speaking of which, Butler also got to the line time and time again in the fourth and sank four clutch free throws down the stretch.

When it was all said and done, the 31-year-old amassed 24 points (14 in the second half) on 8-of-20 shooting from the field and 8-of-10 shooting from the line, eight boards, five assists and a game-high two steals (tied with Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn and Montrezl Harrell).

2. Nunn On Fire From The Start

Sooo…let’s just say that Nunn had flames emitting from his left hand when this game tipped off.

Seriously, he led all players with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter and did damage both off the bounce and off the catch.

And as the night progressed, Nunn just continued to make plays from everywhere on the court.

Oh yeah, he also came through with this impressive recovery and block from behind on Kyle Kuzma early in the third quarter:

That’s a winning play.

Nunn finished with a game-high 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-6 shooting from deep, five rebounds, three assists, a game-high two steals (tied with Butler, Adebayo and Harrell), that block above and a plus-nine rating.

3. Bam Continues To Do It All

From start to finish, Adebayo did whatever it took to win.

Naturally, that entailed dives to the rim for finishes and jams, pinpoint passes to cutters inside or shooters along the perimeter and stout defense on LeBron James, Marc Gasol and Harrell.

I mean, just check out this chasedown block on James early in the fourth:

Gotta love it.

In all, Adebayo accumulated 16 points on 8-of-16 shooting, a game-high 10 rebounds (tied with Duncan Robinson and Harrell), a team-high six assists, a game-high two steals (tied with Butler, Nunn and Harrell) and that block above.

Game Notes:

-Tyler Herro exited the game after suffering a right hip contusion in the second quarter and did not return. He ended up with five points on 2-of-5 shooting, four rebounds and three assists in 13:45 of action.

-Avery Bradley (right calf strain) and Goran Dragić (left ankle sprain) were active scratches.

-Meyers Leonard (left shoulder surgery) and Chris Silva (left hip flexor strain) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will wrap up their road trip on Monday in OKC when they face the Thunder at 9 PM. You can catch all the action on FOX Sports Sun and 790 The Ticket.


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