Before this game, I’d say that Danny Green was well on track to pick up that ring. Now, however? Well, the Lakers are still favored, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion. The battle continues in Tuesday’s Game 4 and we’ll be here liveblogging it at the Guardian.
That will put an end to today’s live coverage of the NBA Finals. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to follow along with us today.
Butler put in one of the all-time Finals performances today and he’s the biggest reason that we will at least see a Game 5. His final numbers? He played 45 minutes, scored 40 points, picked up 11 rebounds along with 13 assists. Oh and two blocks and two steals. Take tomorrow off, Jimmy, you’ve earned it!
Win or loss. ALWAYS Miami
You have to be happy for you team after that. That was one of the most improbable victories I have seen and this just might end up being a series after all if Miami can get one of their big guns back at some point.
Final: Lakers 104-115 Heat
Herro hits the free throw. LeBron misses on the other side. Butler gets the ball and gives it to Robinson who hits the three-pointer that effectively ends this one. Kuzma makes another basket to add to his stat sheet at list. Miami wait out the clock and we’re done. The Heat have somehow won Game 3!
The Heat almost run away from a charging LeBron James. Not the best defense there, but it might not matter. Herro gets the basket and gets fouled. There’s less than a minute left here.
Morris’s three-pointers have been keeping the Lakers into this one, so he goes to the well one more time. NOTHING THERE! That feels significant. Olynyk gets the rebound, Butler gets the ball and he hits an exclamation point of a basket that forces Los Angeles to take a timeout.
The clock, as they say, is not in the Lakers’ favor here.
I have absolutely no idea how Jimmy Butler isn’t just completely gassed, but he’s back on the line. He calmly hits both free throws and the Heat have a seven point lead.
Markieff Morris hits a three-pointer and the lead narrows. Still a lot of time here, although Butler is slowing things down until he picks up yet another foul.
Butler goes to the line and he’s automatic. That’s two more points. Could this be happening?
Butler adds to his point total with another long 2. Olynyk, however, fouls Kyle Kuzma almost immediately afterward. The Lakers get that two points back and almost no time has come off the clock.
This is true, a lot of wide-open shots here, but again, there’s a lot of role players here that have been forced to take a lot of these shots.
And just as I say that, Butler misses a solid look.
This is honestly the first time since a few minutes into Game 2 that I thought that the Heat had any chance of actually winning a game in this series. Yes I’m aware I could be jinxing them, I apologize in advance Heat fans.
Herro with a two-pointer. That’s good. The Lakers manage yet another turnover, it’s on LeBron again, and that’s pretty good as well. Miami takes another timeout.
17 points for Olynyk, that’s crazy. On the other end, Robinson picks up his fourth foul and this one puts KCP on the line. He misses the first, it’s to that point in the game where those can really come back to haunt a team, but he makes the second.
There, Herro finally makes another three-pointer. The Heat might have survived the Lakers’ best counter-punch?
Nope, Kuzma responds with a three. This is going down-to-the-wire, clearly.
Or Kelly Olynyk can score again and the Lakers could turn it over again. LeBron gets called for a travel!
How’s that for help? Butler find Olynyk who manages to hit another three-pointer. The Lakers give it up on the other end and Herro tries again to regain his three-point shot. He, uh, does not.
Butler’s not giving up, he quickly ties things back up with a floater. He’s going to need some help, however. Even he can’t do it all here.
You work so hard, pour out all you have to build a lead and the Lakers basically just decide to flip a switch and go, “nah we’re effectively ending the series right now.”
And there’s Playoff Rondo. LeBron finds the veteran point guard for the basket that puts the Lakers back upfront. In a mere matters of minutes, it feels like the Lakers have hit a devastating blow on this Heat team.
The Heat, now down by two, take a timeout and attempt to regroup.
Olynyk, an unsung hero of this one, scores next and Crowder gets into the action next. The Lakers are still on their tails, however, as he launched a three-pointer.
AND ANOTHER ONE! TIE GAME!
Alright one more quarter to go here. I have zero idea how this will go, which is all I could hope for heading into this game. LeBron James, of course, scores first, zooming through a completely empty lane where he gets fouled while scoring. He has a chance to cut the Miami lead to two which of course he does.
Butler’s back up and feels good enough to take his free throws. He makes both. Now let’s see if Miami can make a stop here to end the corner.
They can’t, LeBron muscles his way to the basket for a score. Nothing the defense could do about that, in my opinion although the talking heads disagree with me.
Morris with an airball. Robinson misses a wide-open shot. Kuzma hits another three and it’s a five point Miami lead. Butler goes to the rim and is fouled. Butler is on the floor, shaken up, and let’s hope that he’s okay here.
Caruso, who was fouled by Nunn before that Miami timeout, makes one of two free throws. The Lakers corral the free throw rebound, but Rondo ends up not being able to cash it in at the basket. On the other end, Butler hits a long two to increase his team’s lead.
Davis, who is looking much better now, responds with back-to-back buckets. Heat lead is cut to eight in an instant.
Win or lose, I feel like he’s the MVP of this game. He’s absolutely taken his team on his shoulders at the exact time that they absolutely needed him to just to stay alive.
Rondo goes for a shot that hits nothing, that’s a Rondo move that I’m familiar with from back during his days with the Celtics. Oh, and Olynyk makes another three which is something I’m very much not familiar with from back in his days with the Celtics.
The Heat, up by double digits again, call a timeout.
AD is on the line for two free throws, which he gets. Olynyk takes a three, but isn’t as lucky this time around. Butler does get to the line, where he goes 1-for-2. The Heat abide.
There’s Playoff Rondo, with his first shot of the game but once again the Butler has the answer.
Rondo finds AD and he hits another jumper, it looks like he’s heating up and that’s not the best of news, although it looks like they’re just trading buckets right now. Kelly Olynyk hits a three-pointer, helping Miami weather this particular storm.
James gets to the basket and lays one in. Butler scores in response, it’s looking like a battle between two heavyweights today.
Butler responds by drawing a foul on Green. It’s funny how players seem to trade fouls like this. Butler hits both, because he’s having one of those games.
Robinson fouls KCP, who makes one of two free throws. Herro gets the rebound and attempts a three, but it’s no go. Davis has the ball again, there’s a bit of ball movement and Danny Green draws a foul to get on the line. He hits them both and it’s now just a six point lead.
Caldwell-Pope, of all players, breaks the seal for the Lakers, with a three-pointer none-the-less. Crowder’s shot goes in and out, to give the Lakers another shot. Davis makes a shot, maybe that is a prelude of things to come.
The announcers suggest that this might be an effort-issue on the Lakers part. Maybe they came in just thinking, “hey we got this series?” They’re definitely playing sloppier. Anyway, Leonard gets called for a foul, the first bit of good news for the Lakers this quarter. The officials discuss whether or not it was a flagrant foul which… that feels like a bit of a stretch. And referee Scott Foster says as much.
Out of the timeout, Howard gets charged with an offensive foul. So that TO ended up being fruitless. Herro tries another three, nothing this time around. Lakers turn the ball over again and Herro cashes this one in. Wow.
Herro ball! Tyler hits a three-pointer, assisted by Butler. The Lakers, still scoreless this quarter, are now down double-digits. They call a timeout to figure out exactly what is going on here.
Anthony Davis picks up his fourth foul, early in the third. That could be massive, as massive as the dunk by Meyers Leonard. Miami up by nine.
Duncan Robinson makes a three-pointer to start the second half scoring, so the Heat start off hot. So to speak.
Second half begins!
Alright, let’s see if Miami can pull this off!
However, Miami has more of a chance than they probably could have hoped for heading in.
The Heat’s bench has been outplayed because there are two gigantic holes in the roster where two of their best starters normally are, which means their bench is effectively decimated.
Jimmy Butler is the leading scorer so far, which is really the only way that Miami is going to win. He’s got 19 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and two steals in a half. Weirdly enough, he’s one of the few players not to have hit a three-pointer. Go figure.
Despite being down two of their three best players, Jimmy Butler and the Heat have managed to take advantage of a sloppy Lakers first quarter and have given themselves a tiny lead. Of course, we all remember what happened to them in Game 1 where they looked to be in control only for the Lakers to absolutely blow them out in the second half. They can’t expect Anthony Davis to look this bad for the next two quarters and I guarantee you they’re smart enough to realize that.
Halftime! Heat up by 4!
Tyler Herro is fouled and goes to the line, making both and that will do it for the scoring on the first half. The Miami Heat, improbably, have a four point lead!
Can’t say that Jimmy Butler hasn’t been doing all he can do to prevent his team from going home, he instantly scores on the other end, but LeBron one-ups him with a three-pointer.
Oh hey, Solomon Hill wants to get into the long-range shooting frenzy: he makes a three pointer. At this point. J.R. Smith is like “if they can do it, so can I.” An utterly ridiculous barrage.
Okay Crowder scores immediately. The Heat needed that and they’re also quite happy with the subsequent Butler basket.
Nunn then fouls Caruso, he has a chance to cut into the Heat lead which he does with two straight free throws.
Robinson then fouls Alex Caruso, who hits both free throws. The second nearly bounces out, adding a bit of drama. Butler misses a shot, Iguodala gets the rebound but Crowder throws it out of bounds. LeBron scores on the other end and it’s like Miami just can’t shake LA.
Butler realizes there’s not a bucket available so he tries to draw a foul, but instead goes out of bounds and turns it over. Morris dunk on the other end and the Heat’s excellent run has…
Never mind, Duncan Robinson hits a three. That will cure a lot of your team’s ails.
Nunn slips, JR Smith steals the ball and James makes it to the other end with a basket and he draws a foul. Of course, he makes the free throw and of course, that will be enough for Miami to cash in a timeout.
Lakers on offense coming out of the break, let’s see if they’ve calmed the waters. Morris… misses a three but so does Crowder. A do-over as Davis gets the rebound…
And he’s charged with an offensive foul, a dubious charge call. That’s a third foul and a Lakers turnover. AD is back on the bench. On the other end, Nunn hits a pullup jumper to take advantage.
Rondo with a “no, no, no, NO” three-pointer. Butler scores again and that’s nine straight points for the Heat and that’s a Lakers timeout.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, not the most popular Laker (to put it mildly) misses a three and then gets called for a foul. Morris then fouls Butler to put him on the line. He makes both, the Heat add to their lead.
Miami gets going here, Crowder shows off his long-distance range by hitting a three and Butler hits a jumper to put them ahead by the slimmest of the margins.
Rondo finds Davis, this time for a dunk! Wowzers, they might have got him going finally.
Oh and Nunn did something good, he hits a jumper… that’s immediately answered with a three pointer from LA’s Alex Caruso.
And Davis breaks the seal with a three pointer, an assist from Playoff Rondo. Lakers back up front BUT Danny Brown fouls Butler and gives him a chance to tie things up.
He, alas, only makes one of two.
Anthony Davis has not attempted a single shot and, as you probably would expect, has yet to score. The Heat should feel good about this, but despite that they’re only up by a single point and they can’t expect that to last much longer. The Lakers are staying in this thanks to their bench.
Nunn gets called for a foul, his unfortunate game continues on. The Lakers leave an open lane for Crowder, who gets a layup while remaining untouched. LA head coach Frank Vogel doesn’t like this one bit and calls a timeout.
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