LeBron James showed why he’s a three-time NBA champion on Friday. Unfortunately, he’ll have to wait at least two more days for another opportunity to win his fourth ring because of the fight Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat showed against the Los Angeles Lakers in a 111-108 win in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Friday.
James has been incredible for the Lakers throughout the postseason, but he was especially so in Game 5. When the Lakers couldn’t get any of their shots to fall in the first half, James kept them in the game by hitting bit shot after big shot, and making the right plays despite his teammates’ struggles. He ended the first half with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal.
Obviously that type of performance is always welcome, but it was especially crucial for Los Angeles during a time where they didn’t know whether or not they’d have Anthony Davis for the remainder of the game. Davis fell to the floor and grabbed his ankle midway through the first quarter and limped off of the court.
The good news is that he was able to return and finish out the game. The bad news is that Davis wasn’t as spry when he returned, noticeably limping in the final minutes of the game, and that may have been the difference between a championship and at least another two nights at the Walt Disney World Resort. It wasn’t the only difference, though.
The Heat had some of their role players rise to the occasion — most notably Duncan Robinson, who had the type of explosive game that Miami’s fans were waiting for. Robinson ended the game with 26 points. Heat star Jimmy Butler was also masterful once again, finishing with 35 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds.
The Lakers still had a chance to win in the closing seconds, but Danny Green missed an open three with the Lakers trailing by one. His teammates got the offensive rebound, but Markieff Morris threw the ball out of bounds, ending the Lakers’ final chance to win the game. They’ll now have to play (at least) a Game 6 of this series, and their lead has been cut to 3-2.
The Lakers will try and close out the series on Sunday. We’ll see you then.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.