The Miami Heat spawned life into their championship run in Game 3 thanks to a Jimmy Butler 40 point triple-double that led to a 115-104 victory. The Lakers were caught napping and sloppy on the ball in crucial situations that led to the Heat making this series 2-1 in favor of LA. Anthony Davis is going to need a bounce back performance in Game 4 after scoring just 15 points and 5 rebounds in Game 3 as his anemic performance was a critical hit to the Lakers chances of making it a 3-0 series. LeBron James nearly had a 30 point triple-double in the previous match, but his crunch time shot selection was extremely poor with missed three after missed three. The Lakers, flat out, have to do better offensively and defensively. The fact that the previous sentence was so elementary should be a testament to how bad the Lakers managed Game 3.
The first five minutes of the game were opened up with the Lakers and Heat going back and forth with impressive baskets to make it 10-10. Anthony Davis dunked home the game’s first basket, so it’ll remain to be seen through the game if he can resume his dominance. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was responsible for the eight other Laker points as he knocked down two three’s and went 3-3 from the field. After the Heat took a timeout being up 12-10 with 6:31 left in the game, the Lakers went on a quick 9-2 run thanks to the presence of Anthony Davis on both ends of the ball. A three pointer from Kyle Kuzma and a strong layup from Alex Caruso capped off a successful first quarter for the Lakers as they ended the first 12 minutes on top 27-22 despite seven turnovers and Jimmy Butler going 5-5 from the field including a buzzer-beating jumper at the end of the quarter.
The Heat matched the Lakers energy from the first quarter and applied it against LA to get the second quarter going. The Heat turned a five point deficit into a five point lead after Duncan Robinnson converted a technical free throw with two and a half minutes gone from the second quarter. The Heat were able to hold on to their lead, but not for too long as another Davis dunk and Morris three were enough to force a timeout from Eric Spoelstra with 6 minutes left in the half as the score was tied at 39. Overall, defense was given far more attention to by both teams to end off the half. Both teams went nearly two minutes without a point in the last 2:30, but the Lakers prevailed on top by a slim margin as the first 24 minutes ended with a 49-47 Los Angeles advantage.
After the Lakers fell to a 54-52 deficit with two good Bam Adebayo free throws, the Lakers took charge of the third quarter thanks to LeBron knocking down a three and dishing a full court pass to Danny Green who finished with a dunk. Miami had to take a timeout to talk over their play as the Lakers jumped to a 5-0 run in just under a minute to establish a 59-54 lead. To sum up the third quarter, neither team were able to establish a double digit lead through the first 36 minutes. Both teams combined for 49 points in the third quarter, which was tied for the most points scored in a quarter in the game. Let’s just say offense was tough to come by. Anthony Davis woke up offensively after scoring 8 points in the first half to have 9 points in the third. The Lakers still ended the third on top as they had a 75-70 lead going into the fourth and final quarter.
A relatively even start to the fourth quarter came to no surprise to many viewers that both LA and Miami were very stingy on the defensive end. A banked Duncan Robinson three and a hard driving layup by Jimmy Butler at the 6 minute mark was enough to get the Heat leveled at 83 but an awkward layup from LeBron James at the other end provided an and one opportunity that was converted and kept the Lakers afloat. Second chance opportunities began falling in favor of Los Angeles and registered their points primarily at the free throw line. LeBron had the Lakers up by 5 points until Tyler Herro converted an extremely tough layup on the other end. With neither team establishing a substantial lead, the game was a near toss-up. The three minute mark saw a Jimmy Butler missed three pointer lead to a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three pointer for the Lakers as a six point swing had them up by five again as clutch time was imminent. The first points of the last two minutes went to the Lakers as it was KCP driving in for the layup to go up 7. Jae Crowder supplied Miami with a sniff at success as he converted a three point attempt to be down by four points with 1:37 to go in Game 4.
Then, Anthony Davis came through in the clutch.
Davis knocked down a cold-blooded three with 39.5 seconds left to take the Lakers up to a 100-91 game. This three pointer was the surefire symbol of defeat for the Miami Heat as they now go down 3-1 in the series after a 102-96 result fueled by LeBron’s 28 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists.The Lakers and Heat will duel in Game 5 on Friday, October 9th at 6pm PST.