The Los Angeles Lakers are still one win away from an NBA championship, but those pesky Miami Heat already won one elimination game and face another one in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Jimmy Butler unleashed a 35-point triple-double to boost the Heat to a victory in Game 5. Danny Green missed a wide-open jumper to win the game after LeBron James drew a triple team in the paint.
“LeBron was ready to take on the whole team, he had two guys on him, a third defender came,” explained head coach Frank Vogel. “He made the right play, Danny is one of our best shooters, he had a great look, and we live with the results.”
|LA Lakers (3-2) vs Miami Heat (2-3)|
- Tip-off: 4:30pm
- Point Spread: LAL -5.5
- Total: 214 o/u
- Money Line: LAL -230 / MIA +220
The Lakers missed a chance to put away the Heat in Game 5, but LeBron will do everything in his power to lock up the championship in Game 6.
With the Game 5 victory, the Heat improved to 16-4 ATS and 14-6 SU.
The Lakers have a second chance to deliver a knockout blow, but will they squander this one in Game 6?
“We got a hell of a look to win the game, to win the series,” said LeBron. “Didn’t go down.”
“It’s a tough loss, there’s no doubt about it,” added Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “We were very close.”
Moments like Green’s wide-open miss will often help a team refocus in the next game, or it is a harbinger of doom.
“We’ve got to be better,” said LeBron. “We’ve just got to be better in Game 6 and close the series.”
Anthony Davis injured his ankle in the fourth quarter, but finished the game. He’s expected to play in Game 6 no matter how much he might be hurting.
“Re-aggravated it,” Davis said of his injury. “But I’ll be fine on Sunday.”
Blood, Sweat, Heat, and Tears
The Miami Heat did not freak out when they fell behind 2-0. With two starters down, everyone pretty much wrote them off.
“Whatever the story lines that are out there, we don’t care,” said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “Our guys are the ones who are out there in the arena marred by dust, blood, sweat and tears. Our guys are the ones out there. Twenty-eight other teams aren’t out there. Everybody else is basically on their comfortable couches spectating on this one. Our guys are the ones that are in the arena, and that’s right where they are meant to be.”
Spoelstra referenced a well-known speech by President Teddy Roosevelt, one that has been driving LeBron ever since he played under Spo in Miami a decade ago.
The Heat tend to flirt with disaster when they live and die by the 3-pointer. In Game 5, Duncan Robinson feasted on 3-pointers with 21 of his 26 points happening behind the arc.
“Every time he shoots, we feel like it’s going in,” said fellow sniper Tyler Herro. “We want him to be aggressive. Want him to continue to shoot balls almost every time he touches it. We want him to continue to shoot the ball and make sure his confidence is high.”
The gun-shy Robinson faded early in the NBA Finals, so much so that Spoelstra could be heard on the television broadcast screaming, “Shoot the f-cking ball!”
Butler drew all the accolades for his 35-point triple-double, his second triple-double of the NBA Finals, but Robinson provided the Heat with a much-needed boost from the perimeter.
“A three is worth more than a two,” said Butler. “And we’re going to need him to be even more aggressive for Game 6.”