Los Angeles Lakers 102-96 Miami Heat
The Los Angeles Lakers are on the cusp of winning their first NBA championship in 10 years as they took a 3-1 lead over the Miami Heat on Tuesday evening.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 28 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists, and he is now the heavy favourite to win his fourth Finals MVP, as per the NBA 2020 odds.
Anthony Davis struggled to get going in the first half, but he came alive in the second half to end up with 22 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green were the other Lakers who scored in double digits with 15 and 10 apiece, while they got huge minutes from the likes of Marcus Morris, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, and Rajon Rondo.
Jimmy Butler led all Heat scorers with 23 while Tyler Herro added 21. Miami also got 17 points from Duncan Robinson and 15 points from Bam Adebayo – who just came back after missing two games due to a neck problem.
Here are last night’s set of NBA 2020 highlights courtesy of SBOTOP.
Highlights of the game
After losing in Game 3, the Lakers were seeking retaliation and they did so by turning this game into a defencive slugfest.
Unlike the first two games of the series, the Lakers and the Heat went back and forth again all evening by exchanging leads particularly in the first half.
But the Lakers finally took control of the game for good in the third period when LeBron James knocked down a three-pointer with 8:18 left to put themselves up 55-54.
Towards the final three minutes of the third quarter, Anthony Davis pushed the Lakers’ advantage to seven points via a three of his own – the largest margin by either side at the time.
The Heat continued to played catch up all night in what was the recurring theme of the game. Miami would cut the lead down multiple times, but they simply couldn’t regain the edge.
Tyler Herro made a couple of perimeter shots to put the Heat within a point in the final period, but the Lakers were bailed out with a pivotal call when Kelly Olynyk fouled Marcus Morris on a three-point attempt.
Jimmy Butler would finally draw level with 6:27 left via a layup, but LeBron James scored the next five points himself, which includes a crucial three-point play when he barged inside the paint for the bucket.
The Lakers defence would neutralize the Heat’s sharpshooters in Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, while they continuously dared Jimmy Butler to shoot from outside.
Down the stretch, the trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sealed the deal for LA.
Caldwell-Pope popped a corner three to put the Lakers up five with less than three minutes left. And then when the Heat were called for a 24-second violation on the other end, the swingman scored on a drive for a seven-point cushion.
LeBron James sinked the game clinching free throws in the end. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis knocked down the dagger three-pointer and he blocked a Jimmy Butler layup late to secure the victory.
“I’m gonna continue to not sleep until the job is done,” said LeBron James during the postgame interview.
The Lakers’ job is not done yet, but they are very well on their way.
Followed by his superb performance in Game 3, Jimmy Butler almost notched another Finals triple-double. He tallied 22 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in the losing effort.
LeBron James was sloppy with the ball in the first half with five turnovers, but he did a much better job in the second half by having only one.
This is the 36th time that a team has held a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. The teams with the said lead went on to win the championship, with the exception of the 2016 Warriors when the LeBron James-led Cavaliers completed the stunning comeback.
LeBron James continues to climb up in the all-time playoff rankings. He’s moved up to fifth for the most Finals games played (53), and fourth for the most Finals free throws made (278).
Anthony Davis’ shooting percentages has been extraordinary in this series. The Brow is shooting 55-per cent from three-point range, 61-per cent overall from the field, and 100-per cent from the charity stripe.
Game 5 between the Lakers and Heat will be on Saturday. Another win here by the Lakers will draw them level with the Celtics for the most titles by an NBA franchise (17).
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