So many chances were missed by the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 to capture the franchise’s 17th championship. Whether it be Kyle Kuzma giving away four point plays like breadcrumbs to birds or Danny Green missing a three to win the game and rid away all the criticism he’s received in the playoffs, the Lakers were collectively awful. And that’s a lot to say when LeBron goes for 40 points. Make no mistake about it, Miami deserved the win behind Jimmy Butler’s 35 point triple double and Duncan Robinson exploding out of nowhere for 26 points. However, one mustn’t assume these numbers will carry over to Game 6. After Jimmy Butler’s 40 point triple double in Game 3, all he could provide offensively in Game 4 was 22 points. Duncan Robinson also had quite a challenging time from three in these playoffs, so whether or not these Heat players rise up and exert copious amounts of energy, the Lakers rarely allow losses two times in a row.
The first few minutes of the game saw a stalemate at 8-8 due to Duncan Robinson drilling 2 of this 3 three-pointers. The hot shooting from the undrafted rookie continued on from Game 5, but his consistency could be the difference between a Game 7 happening and the Lakers winning the championship that night. Kendrick Nunn joined the fun for the Heat and drained his own three pointer with 3:22 left in the first quarter to cut the Laker lead to one with a 17-16 scoreline. After the timeout, Anthony Davis fought on the offensive board and was able to throw down the second chance bucket. Right after that play, Rajon Rondo forced the 6th Heat turnover of the game which led to yet another Anthony Davis basket. The Lakers took advantage of the large amount of early turnovers and the lack of production from Jimmy Butler (3 points) to take a 28-20 lead heading into the second quarter.
Rajon Rondo has to be highlighted at the start of the second quarter as he was 4-4 from the field with 9 points in just six minutes of play. This is in stark contrast to the 4 points on 1-7 shooting in Game 5 as the backup point guard was showing flashes of retro Rondo. LeBron is also worth mentioning as he scored his 11th point of the game with ten minutes remaining in the first half to go along with six rebounds and three assists. The King was already on triple double watch as he seemed to bully every single Heat player on the floor towards an early 35-23 score. Fun basketball only continued to be on display for the Lakers as playoff Rondo converted a scoop layup to put his total up to 11 and the score to 42-27 with 6:16 left in the first half. The Heat looked anemic from downtown and were struggling to win any 50-50 balls. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had himself a highlight layup off the glass and converted the and-1 to continue extending the lead. The Lakers were already in the bonus, and a Bam Adebayo foul on Anthony Davis helped cushion the lead up to 51-32 with just under four minutes to go in the half. The Lakers only continued to blow the roof off of this game as the first half concluded with a 64-36 lead. A miracle and a half would be necessary for the Heat if they want a sniff at forcing a Game 7 in this series.
Los Angeles continued to have fun in the third quarter as they were able to maintain a 30 point lead with just under seven minutes to go in the third quarter. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kendavious Caldwell-Pope all had 15 points to lead all scoring in the game as Miami only had Bam Adebayo (12 points) in double figures. Based on the statistics alone, Miami seemed to run out of heat. Based on the eye test, you could clearly see fatigue in the Heat’s body language especially after leaving it all on the court in Game 5 just 48 hours ago. Everything was going right for the Lakers while everything went wrong for Miami as the first 36 minutes concluded with an 87-58 scoreline led by LeBron James and Rajon Rondo scoring 19 points each.
The Miami Heat opened up the fourth quarter with seven unanswered points until Danny Green knocked down a three pointer. Still, the Heat didn’t stop scoring as four more points from Miami made Frank Vogel use one of his timeouts to talk things over with his team who were now up 90-69. The Lakers exited the timeout huddle with four straight points to establish a 94-69 lead as the game was coming to a close. Something worth noting is the fact that LeBron James notched his 11th finals triple double as he ended the game with 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. The game, and the elongated NBA season, came to a close as the Lakers won their franchise 17th NBA title with a 106-93 final score. LeBron James will be able to say that he both is a four time champion and the first player to win a Finals MVP for three different franchises as he was named the Finals MVP for the Lakers. Anthony Davis can also now say that he is a champion as his future seems bright. The Miami Heat’s future is also bright as they have some of the best young talent in the league.
When will the next NBA game be played? Who knows. All that matters now is the celebrations taking place for the Laker nation in the next couple weeks.