“Maybe we’ve just got to play a lot harder, to know that’s how we’re going to squeak out a win in the end. There really isn’t too much to say to our guys. We understand what we have to do,” said Butler after Miami’s loss to the Lakers in Game 2.

“He is a supreme competitor,” Spoelstra said on Jimmy after Heat’s Game 2 loss. “You can’t define him by any analytic or typical viewpoint of how to play the game of basketball because he’s going to compete and he’s going to find different ways to compete, to put your team in a position to win. It was 45 minutes of everything he had.”

Jimmy Butler, you understood very well what needed to be done.

jimmy butler game 3
Image Source: Twitter.com

Game 3 NBA Finals Los Angeles Lakers v/s Miami Heat (104-115)

[Lakers lead series 2-1]

Starting Line-ups for Game 3:

  • LA Lakers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, LeBron James
  • Miami Heat: Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Meyers Leonard, Jae Crowder, Jimmy Butler

Note: (Miami) Bam Adebayo (neck strain) and Goran Dragic (torn plantar) are out for Game 2 with injury.

Quarterly Analysis:

  • Quarter 1: Lakers and Heat exchange buckets in the opening minutes of the game, orchestrated by their star players: LeBron and Butler respectively. Heat coach Spoelstra had said that this team wasn’t playing ‘Heat style of basketball’ in games 1 and 2; and that’s precisely how they played in game 3. Forcing 5 turnovers in 5 minutes, the Heat went on a 12-0 run thanks to their patented zone defense which saw LBJ and AD getting trapped in double teams to force the ball over. Whenever AD got the ball on offense, he could only see black Heat jerseys around him- forcing him to pass to his teammates which resulted in him taking 0 shots in the quarter and accumulating 2 personal fouls already. LeBron kept his team in the game by driving to the basket, taking fouls and converting free throws. Butler was the igniter for his team on both ends of the floor from the get-go to give them the lead. Quarter ended at 26-23 to the Heat.

Note: Miami’s zone forced 10 turnovers from LA in the first quarter alone. LA had a total of 9 in Game 2.

  • Quarter 2: Capitalizing on their momentum, Lakers went on a 20-8 run since 3:28 in the first quarter. This run came through contributions off the bench in Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris’s 3 point shooting, which saw Davis make his first field goal to get the Lakers by 1: 33-32. Sensing LA’s resurgence, Jimmy Butler took over the offense for his team: leading Miami’s own 9-0 run which saw him score 11 points in the quarter alone. Foul trouble kept lurking behind AD who picked up his 3rd foul which saw him head to the bench. James was taking matters in his own hands on the offense, taking trips to the free throw line and dishing out 4 assists to go along with 6 rebounds. Butler was doing it all for his team, scoring 19 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in the half to keep his team up against Laker’s 3 point shooting and free throws. Quarter ended at 58-54 to the Heat.

Note: Miami’s defense- LA had 14 turnovers in the half which is tied-most in Finals history since 1997.

  • Quarter 3: AD’s woeful start to game 3 continued when he picked up his 4th personal foul which saw him score 5 points in 13 minutes of game time. This effect trickled down to the rest of the team as they seemed to lack energy coming into this half, resulting in the Heat going on a 8-0 run and take a 12 point lead. LBJ was doing his best to keep his team alive in the game, having 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Ad came back into the game and started finding his groove, picking his sweet-spots to get back his rhythm- mid-range and 3 point shots helped him get 10 in the quarter. Unfortunately for LA, Jimmy Butler went into Jimmy ‘Buckets’ mode. He was doing it all for his team, finishing the quarter with 30 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists! Quarter ended at 85-80 to the Heat.

Note: Jimmy Butler is the first player for the Heat to have 30 or more points in 3 quarters; the last one being Dwayne Wade back in 2006.

  • Quarter 4: Lakers came out hot in the 4th with their bench players Kuzma and Morris ( 19 points each for the game) making 3’s and LeBron scoring/assisting on 11 straight points. This run by LA saw them take their first lead of the game (91-89) since leading 37-36 in the second quarter. Both teams were exchanging buckets through their bench player; Tyler Herro has been scoring in double-figures all throughout the NBA Finals and he found his groove in the 4th after having a tough opening 3 quarters. LBJ had a completely mirrored game 3 compared to game 2 in turnovers- he had 0 in game 2 and 8 in game 3. However, if you watched the game, seeing the aggression, determination and leadership displayed by Jimmy Butler for the Heat- it would’ve been an uphill task to overcome that type of effort. Using his mid-range and driving ability, Butler put the game well beyond the reach of the Lakers. Quarter and game ended at 115-104 for the Heat’s victory.

Factors heading into Game 4:

  • Jimmy Butler is only the 3rd player in NBA Finals history to average a 40+point triple-double (40 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds), after LeBron James (Game 5, 2015) and Jerry West (Game 7, 1969).

Note: Only Butler has been able to win the game after putting up such numbers. James and West lost those games

  • Butler is the first player to outscore, outrebound and out-assist LeBron James in a Finals game, including LeBron’s teammates. Simply put, Butler’s work ethic and will to win put on a display for the ages. After the game, Butler said, ” We’re not gonna lay down; we’re gonna fight back in this thing and even it up 2-2.”
  • Anthony Davis did not score in the 4th, and only took 1 shot. That can’t happen if the Lakers want to win.
  • LA recorded 21 points off of 20 turnovers. They shot 75% from the free-throw line. Danny Green and KCP combined for 7 points on 1-7 shooting from the 3PT line. Lakers have clear-cut holes to fill in for Game 4.
  • Miami did an excellent job of rebounding, only 6 behind LA’s 43 which shows a team’s combined effort to win a ball game. Butler had been emphasizing on the importance of rebounding since end of game 2 and the team followed it’s leader.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a finals series.

Game 4 of the NBA Finals will take place on Wednesday morning at 6:30 AM.

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