LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida, USA (AP) – Anthony Davis of Los Angeles and Jae Crowder of Miami ended up on the ground in the middle of the third period of the sixth game of the final. Davis struggled to get up, and elbowed Crowder’s face, who didn’t even flinch.
The episode symbolized what happened in the meeting on Friday. The Lakers were seconds away from winning the NBA title but couldn’t knock out the Heat.
LeBron James shone with the Lakers, scoring 40 points, but Jimmy Butler shone with Miami by scoring 35 points as part of a “triple double,” and the Heat survived to necessitate a sixth game to be played this Sunday.
“We’re not going to back down or shy away from anything,” Butler warned.
Everything continues to favor the Lakers, who win the series 3-2. James’ teams have never missed the opportunity to win the same series twice since 2006, the first year he played in the postseason.
The Heat are still without star point guard Goran Dragic with a foot injury – a tear in the left plantar fascia.
But Miami has been willing to resist.
“Everybody had us out since the playoffs started,” rookie point guard Tyler Herro said. “We don’t really care what people say.”
During the fifth game, Miami continued to find ways to keep the series and the season alive. In the closing seconds, when Danny Green missed a triple that would have given the Lakers the title, Markeff Morris took the offensive rebound, but his shot was so bad that he left the court without touching the rim.
Since the NBA Finals began, Heat players have talked about the need to play near-perfect basketball against the Lakers. James, who has spoken respectfully about his former team during the series, now warns that the Lakers’ performance must also be immaculate.
“This team we’re playing against has something: It makes you pay for every mistake,” James said after Game 5. “It’s the same as in all those years that I played against Golden State. You are wrong and you pay for it. You have to understand that ”.
James is about to set the record for the most playoff games played in the NBA. He is already the leading scorer in playoff history, with the highest number of wins, steals, field shots and free throws made.
But there is a record that I would not want.
Despite its greatness, it requires help. No one has suffered more losses than him in games in which he scored at least 40 points in the NBA Finals.
The fifth meeting with those characteristics, which broke the record, was on Friday, when Miami won 111-108. In fact, the last three finals games in which James has scored at least 40 points ended in stumbling – two against the Warriors in 2017 and 2018, and now one against Miami.
“He responds in the big moments,” said Alex Caruso, a point guard for the Lakers. “It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t make one more play for him, defensively or attacking. We couldn’t help him, and he gave everything. ”
His everything was not enough.