ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Bay Lake, Florida — A championship-caliber match was put on display by the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Whoever wins the pivotal game 4 will tip the balance of control in their favor. Let’s take a look at how the match unfolded.

Game 4 NBA FinalsLos Angeles Lakers v/s Miami Heat (102-96)

[Lakers lead series 3-1]

Starting Line-ups:

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

Note: Bam Adebayo makes his return to the starting lineup for the Heat. Goran Dragic (foot) still out with injury.

la lakers nba finals 2020
Image Source: Twitter.com

Quarterly Analysis:

  • Quarter 1: Both teams started the game with an emphasis on one thing: defense. The Heat switched to man-to-man coverage from zone because the Lakers had been taking advantage of the space provided for player movement to grab offensive rebounds. Miami’s active defense saw LA commit 6 turnovers in the quarter. The heat did a good job of denying Anthony Davis and LeBron James from getting to their sweet spots by doubling them from their off-sides, forcing their teammates to take and make shots. Fortunately for the Lakers, their players made those shots which resulted in them having 8 assists on 9 made baskets, in particular KCP and Kuzma. Jimmy Butler continued his hot streak from the previous game by scoring 11 points on 5-5 shooting and dishing out 2 assists. Dwight Howard was being targeted by Miami in high pick-and-rolls which saw the big man only play 8 minutes in the whole game. The quarter ended at 27-22 to the Lakers.


  •  Quarter 2: Miami came out hot, going on an 8-0 run thanks to their quick off-ball movement by their players Duncan Robinson and Jae Crowder. LeBron was being very passive on offense- seeing idling behind the 3PT line after committing 5 of LA’s 9 turnovers, although he was trying to get his teammates involved with 4 assists after his poor start. Bam Adebayo was active on both ends of the floor, taking fouls on the offensive end and providing the interior presence that the Heat have been missing in the previous two games. The heat did an excellent job of attacking the basket and getting fouls: they shot 9-12 free throws compared to LA’s 2-3. With AD and LBJ being constrained, Rajon Rondo‘s entry into the ball game saw LA unweave Miami’s defense by recording 16 assists in the half and having their bench players making those shots. KCP had 10 points in the half. The quarter ended at 49-47 to the Lakers.

Note: LeBron has the most 20-point halves in NBA Finals history: 20 times. He’s followed by Michael Jordan with 18 and Shaquille O’Neal with 14.

  • Quarter 3: Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson get things rolling for the Heat by taking care of the scoring and rebounding for the Heat. Oh, and don’t ever count out Tyler Herro. The kid is 20 years old, the youngest player to play in the Finals and he has unlimited confidence. His shot-making and belief in himself resonate with his team and that’s how he’s earned coach Erik Spoelstra’s trust in him to play him in these finals game. Having said all this, it’s time to get to the real deal: Anthony Davis and LeBron James. LeBron, who had 8 points in the first half came out roaring in the 3rd with his barrage of 3’s, and-1’s at the basket and having his co-star AD take care of the defensive end. AD was on Jimmy Butler all game long, blocking shots and getting stops for the team which allowed LA to get into transition which they’re the best at in the league. Jimmy Butler shot 0-4 in the 3rd quarter. The quarter ended at 75-70 to the Lakers.

Note: Lakers are 55-0 when leading after the end of the 3rd quarter. Miami made 16-20 free throws in 3 quarters.

  • Quarter 4: Both teams had been doing an excellent job of defending all game long which should be attributed to their coaches and coaching staff: Erik Spoelstra (Heat) and Frank Vogel (Lakers) – points scored in the paint was at 26 each. 3PT shooting was poor on both ends: 7-26 for the Heat and 0-8 in the quarter by LA. For the Heat it was Butler, D.Robinson, and Herro who were stepping up the scoring which was matched by AD, LBJ, and in particular Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP  had 2 clutch baskets, a 3 in the corner, and a layup in the last 3 minutes of the game which proved critical in giving LA the lead at 95-88. Jae Crowder shot a 3 off of a Butler assist to make it 95-91with 2:03 left; on the other end, Rondo faked the defense on the pick-and-roll and got an easy layup to give LA the lead at 97-91. With less than 45 seconds to play, cometh the hour, cometh the man- Anthony Davis makes the dagger 3 over Bam Adebayo to give LA the game-winning lead of 100-91. On defense, AD made a crucial block (4 blocks) on Jimmy Butler to end the ball game. The game ended at 102-96.

Note: Lakers are 37-1 when leading 3-1 in a series.

Also Read: NBA Award winners 2019-20

Factors heading into Game 4:

  • In my humble opinion, it’s over.
  • If the Miami Heat have any chance of making it back into this series then Jimmy Butler will have to play like how he did in game 3- a damn near perfect game on offense and defense. Also, the Lakers will have to play that bad for them let the game slip away from them.
  • Anthony Davis should be smelling blood in the water. It will be his first ring and he should look to finish it up in Game 5 with his co-star in LeBron James looking to go 4-6 in NBA Finals, i.e. capture his 4th NBA Championship. Also, Danny Green needs to shoot a whole lot better to justify the $15 million dollars he gets every year.
  • Jimmy Butler needs to shoot more 3’s (0-3. D.Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Jae Crowder need to make a much higher percentage of his 3’s if the Heat want to avoid a gentlemen sweep in the Finals.

Game 5 of the NBA Finals will take place on Saturday morning at 6:30 AM IST.

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