Heat Defeat Lakers, Trim NBA Finals Deficit to 2-1
The Miami Heat captured a must-win game in Game 3 of the 2020 NBA Finals on Sunday night.
Playing without starters Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, Miami surprised the Los Angeles, 104-98, to take Game 3 and secure their first win of the series.
The Lakers, who won the first two games, still lead the best-of-7 series, 2-1.
The Heat saw two double-digit leads evaporate, including a 14-point fourth-quarter lead, the biggest advantage by any team, but still hung on to capture the much-needed triumph.
Jimmy Butler led the way for the Heat with a triple-double, the 40th in NBA Finals history.
Miami led it at halftime, 58-34, outshooting Los Angeles from the field, 49%/47%, while being outrebounded by the Lakers, 19-18.
The Heat forced 14 Los Angeles turnovers in the first 24 minutes of play.
Butler, who was outstanding all night, scoring 19 points in the first half, to go along with six rebounds and six assists.
The Lakers were paced in the first half by LeBron James, who scored 16 points while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out six assists.
Anthony Davis, who played only 11 minutes in the first half for Los Angeles due to foul trouble, scored only five points and pulled down only one rebound while committing five turnovers.
Miami extended their lead to 14 points with 7:54 to go in the third quarter, before the Lakers came surging back, taking the lead, 91-89, with 8:44 remaining.
The Heat went on an 8-0 run, however, to take 97-91 lead with 7:03 to go.
Miami would not relinquish another lead, as they went on to the 11-point victory.
The Heat ended up outshooting the Lakers from the field, 51%/43%, including a 35%/33% advantage from beyond the three-point arc, while Los Angeles finished with a 43-37 rebounding edge.
Butler, who was sensational in the triple-double performance, played 45 minutes, scoring 40 points while grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out 13 assists.
Tyler Herro contributed 17 points for Miami.
In a losing cause for Los Angeles, James had 25 points, ten rebounds, and eight assists, while Davis finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday night.