The Miami Heat have been surprising people all season long. They answered the call once again on Friday night, beating Los Angeles in Game 5 to extend the NBA Finals. Now, the Lakers will be hoping to close the series out and the Heat will be looking to send it to a Game 7.
Lakers with second closeout opportunityLos Angeles essentially called its shot heading into Game 5 on Friday night. The Lakers held a 3-1 lead in the series and announced that they would be wearing their special edition ‘Black Mamba’ jerseys in honor of the late Kobe Bryant. They were unable to close out the pesky Miami team, though, and will have to do so in Game 6. LeBron James entered Friday night’s game with the best closeout-game record in NBA history and he did not disappoint. James scored 40 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out seven assists. However, when the Lakers were trailing by a point in the finals seconds, Miami forced the ball out of his hand. James kicked it out to a wide open Danny Green, who missed a 3-pointer.
Anthony Davis is beginning to struggle with some injuries, including a bruised heel and a sprained ankle. Regardless, he was able to score 28 points on 9 of 15 shooting. He made all eight of his free throw attempts. James shot a ridiculous 15 of 21 from the floor, including a 6 of 9 mark from beyond the arc. Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the only other player in double figures, scoring 16 points on a 6 of 15 clip. He made 3 of 8 from distance. Green went 3 of 8 from the floor and scored eight points. Kyle Kuzma was held to seven points on a 3 of 10 shooting effort.
Heat avoid eliminationThis Miami team refuses to go away. Many critics expected the Heat to get swept by Milwaukee in the second round of the Eastern Conference. They won the series in five games. Then they were an underdog against Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami won that series as well. Los Angeles was expected to sweep the Heat in the Finals, especially after Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic both suffered injuries in Game 1. Adebayo has returned, while Dragic has still been out with his foot injury. Dragic is listed as questionable for this game. It was leader Jimmy Butler who was the key cog in Friday night’s win, however. Butler poured in 35 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 11 assists in his second triple-double of the series.
Butler went 11 of 19 from the floor and made all 12 of his free throw attempts. He played a game-high 47 minutes, which is becoming the norm for him. Butler also picked up five steals in the win. Guard Duncan Robinson had his best game of the Finals, scoring 26 points on an 8 of 15 effort. He made 7 of 13 from beyond the arc and had five rebounds. Robinson’s plus-7 plus-minus was the best mark of anyone on the team. Guard Kendrick Nunn added 14 points on a 6 of 11 clip. Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Jae Crowder were each in double figures as well. Crowder made just 2 of 9 from the perimeter.
- 16-4 ATS in its last 20 games
- 5-1 ATS in its last six games
Los Angeles is:
- 1-4 ATS in its last five games
- 1-7 ATS in its last eight games vs. an Eastern Conference opponent