Miami stays alive! At the end of a titanic duel between Jimmy Butler and LeBron James, the Heat overcame the Lakers (111-108), winning the right to play a 6th game in an NBA final which wins in indecision.
When Jimmy says, Jimmy does. The Miami frontman was heroic. At the end of his strength and 47 minutes out of 48 possible of a formidable distance fight against James, whose self-sacrifice and contribution (40 pts, 13 rebounds) were of the same ilk, he repeated his performance of the match N.3 where his triple-double at 40 points gave air to his people to reduce the gap to 2-1.
After the defeat in the 4th game, which put the Heat back to the wall, he had hammered home how much he believed in his team and to be able to once again raise his level of play. His word kept: his 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists - second triple-double in this final therefore -, to which we can add 5 interceptions which illustrate his determination to defend well, were once again decisive.
Especially since it was he who went for this imperative victory, with eight points in the money-time, when the Lakers, behind in the score almost the entire match, passed twice in front.
- "We played hard" -
But Butler preferred to focus on the collective effort in defense. "It was about making stops. We just played hard. And then we managed to execute as we wanted in attack, we spun the ball, as we always do", he analyzed , conceding: "We were also lucky that Danny Green missed his open shot at the end."
"We had a great opening to win the match, to win the series. But it did not come in," lamented "LBJ", who had drawn the opposing defense to him on his penetration, before bringing the ball out to his gunner.
On what Markieff Morris faulted Tyler Herro (12 pts) on the rebound and the latter, 20 years old and already icy, put his free throws to ensure victory for the Heat.
Miami, which is the 6th final in 15 years (three coronations in 2006, 2012, 2013) and which was still deprived of its leader Goran Dragic (plantar aponeurosis in the left foot), thus showed tremendous resources.
Selflessness and courage are sometimes not enough to win, the proof is that the Lakers have not lacked. Tactical adjustments also help. And we have to admit that Erik Spoelstra found them, with systems offering a lot of open shots to his shooters.
- Robinson Factor X -
Duncan Robinson was the X factor of the team with his seven baskets behind the arc (26 pts) and the other rookie, the talented Kevin Nunn, was never complexed by the issue (14 pts).
Constantly chasing the score - Miami had a lead of up to 11 points in the first period - the Lakers mostly relied on LeBron James, extraordinary will and skill (15/21 including 6/9 behind the 'bow). He did everything to force their fate, but in vain.
Anthony Davis also gave it his all, hurting his right heel during the first act, then apparently more seriously in the left ankle late in the game. But he gritted his teeth and weighed in this meeting (28 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks).
However the two stars were little relayed in a team where only Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had an impact (16 pts).
For this game, players from L.A. wore the "Mamba Edition" jersey created by Kobe Bryant. The one with whom they had not lost until then during these play-offs.
- He therefore had to bring them to a 17th coronation. But Jimmy Butler and his family decided otherwise. They too believe in their own bright star.