Impressive Butler carries Heat to Game 3 victory
The Miami Heat took care of business and defeated the LA Lakers 115-104 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, cutting the Lakers’ series lead to 2-1. It was a historic night for the Heat’s Jimmy Butler who has joined LeBron James and Jerry West and the only players with a 40-point triple-double in NBA Finals history. Jimmy “Buckets” finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in 45 minutes on the floor. Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Herro added 17 points each for Miami who played without their two starters, Goran Dragić and Bam Adebayo. The Heat will now look to even the series on Tuesday night.
Jimmy Butler was focused after the win and remained adamant that he wasn’t worried about personal accolades, saying “We won. I could care less about a triple-double. We play this game to win. I'm glad my teammates got a lot of trust and faith in me to go out there and hoop like that, but like I always say, you guarantee me a win, I could care less.”
The Heat pulled off the win despite missing star players and All-Stars Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo. They rallied together to show that they can still compete despite being shorthanded. Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra felt his team have been brought closer together through the adversity, “I think there's a lot of genuine care and love in this locker room. Guys really want to do this for each other. Our hearts are broken, you know, about Goran and Bam missing these games because there's sincere love for them. Jimmy takes that to heart. Guys know that they have to do more until or if those guys come back.”
The Lakers were led by LeBron James who finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. With his second assist of the game, James passed John Stockton for second-most playoff assists in NBA history. Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris scored 19 points each, with Anthony Davis adding 15 to the scoreboard.
LeBron was impressed with Butler’s individual performance on the night, “I thought Jimmy was phenomenal. He did everything that they needed him to do tonight and he came through big time in a big-time game. We'll watch film and see ways we can be better going into Game 4. But I thought he was great.” Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel knows that he has to rally his troops and that his team have to improve when dealing with Butler, “We definitely have to do a better job on Jimmy. What did he have, 40 and 13? Identifying the right situations to help, the right situations not to help. We didn't do a good job in those situations, but obviously we'll look at the tape and see ways we can be better.” Game 4 tales place early on Wednesday morning at 03:00 CAT.