Jimmy Butler carried the load with 40 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the shorthanded Miami Heat held off the Los Angeles Lakers 115-104 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night near Orlando.
Butler completed his first career playoff triple-double by scoring six of the Heat’s final 12 points as Miami avoided a 3-0 deficit in the best-of-seven series. Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Herro added 17 points apiece, as Goran Dragic (foot) and Bam Adebayo (neck/shoulder) remained sidelined.
LeBron James had 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Anthony Davis was saddled by early foul trouble in scoring just 15 for the Lakers. Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma each had 19 off the bench, though Los Angeles was plagued by 20 turnovers.
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The Lakers came back from down 14 in the third quarter to go ahead 91-89 on a Rajon Rondo drive to the basket at 8:56 of the fourth. The Heat responded with an 8-0 spurt, Olynyk and Herro hitting 3-pointers.
Los Angeles was within five, 105-100, on a Morris 3 at 2:11 before four straight Butler points restored Miami’s edge to nine. A Herro three-point play and Duncan Robinson 3 in the final minute sealed the result.
The Heat used a 10-0 run to begin the third to go ahead 68-54. The Lakers countered with eight straight, but Miami regained control behind a pair of Olynyk 3-pointers to lead 81-70 with 2:55 left. The score was 85-80 entering the fourth.
The Heat took advantage of a sloppy Lakers start to lead by as much as 13, 22-9, in the first. Los Angeles turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter, one more than it had in Game 2 total. Still, the Lakers ended the period within 26-23.
Los Angeles was up 37-33 in the second before Miami rattled off an 11-0 stretch. The Lakers battled back within one, 47-46, but a pair of Butler baskets and rare 3 from Solomon Hill helped the Heat to a 58-54 halftime lead.
Butler had 19 points, six rebounds and six assists at the break. James scored 16, while Davis was held to five in 11 minutes after drawing three quick fouls.
—Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)