Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat
The Miami Heat continue to show remarkable fight in the NBA Finals. After a tough loss in Game 4, the Heat hung on to beat the Los Angeles Lakers in a thrilling Game 5, thanks in large part to another amazing Jimmy Butler triple-double.
LeBron James had a shot to close out the Heat himself in the final seconds, but he passed up on that opportunity, which ended up costing LA.
James and the Lakers still have a 3-2 lead, though, and the NBA 2020 odds remain in their favour as they get another chance to clinch the championship in Game 6.
Butler has been nothing short of heroic in these Finals, but does the Heat superstar have one more great game in him to force a decisive Game 7?
Unstoppable Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler continues to be unbelievable in the Finals. The Heat All-Star had another classic performance in Game 5 as he finished with 35 points on 11-of-19 shooting and 12-of-12 from the free-throw line, with 12 rebounds, 11 assists, and five steals in 47 minutes.
Butler outdueled LeBron James, who also had an incredible Game 5 with 40 points (15-21 FG, 6-9 3-PT FG), 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. Butler was particularly crucial in the clutch as he made timely free throws to help the Heat seal the win.
The Heat also got a huge game from Duncan Robinson, who exploded for 26 points on 7-of-13 3-point shooting.
Since Game 2 of the series, Butler has taken his game to another level, averaging 30.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 11.5 assists in 45 minutes per game. He has virtually carried Miami since Goran Dragic went down with a foot injury, and with his supporting cast now looking so shaky, he will need to come up with another huge game for the Heat to stave off elimination again.
Butler acknowledged after Game 5 that he had ‘left it all out on the floor’ and he won’t have much time to recover. After four straight games of playing well over 40 minutes, it remains to be seen just how much gas Butler has left in the tank for Game 6.
Davis hobbled again, Dragic remains doubtful
Anthony Davis’ heel injury also played some part in the Heat’s Game 6 victory. Davis, who has been dealing with the injury since the end of the Denver series, aggravated it in the first quarter and he wasn’t quite the same after that.
Although he still finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds in 42 minutes, he was unable to play the suffocating defence that helped keep Butler relatively in check in Game 5.
Davis says he should be good to go for Game 6, though, which is promising NBA 2020 news for the Lakers. Even a slightly hobbled Davis gives the Lakers a strong chance to win.
However, the Heat will likely have to do without Dragic, who remains doubtful to return because of a torn plantar fascia in his left foot.
Lakers bench must bounce back
Another major factor in the Lakers failing to close out the Heat was their bench’s regression. The Lakers reserves had just 14 points and went 5-of-22 from the field. Kyle Kuzma was a team-worst minus-17 in his 22 minutes, while Rajon Rondo was minus-13.
The Lakers bench has come up big in the Finals as they’ve significantly outplayed their Heat counterparts all series long. Morris, in particular, has been surprisingly effective and has been in the Lakers’ finishing lineups in the last few games.
If LA’s reserves can return to the usual production they’ve been providing in the Finals, the Lakers should be in good shape in Game 6.
This will be the first Game 6 the Lakers play in this year’s playoffs. They had closed out their previous three series in just five games.
As for the Heat, this will be their second Game 6 of the postseason. They defeated the Boston Celtics in their first Game 6. Bam Adebayo starred in that game as he had 32 points and 14 rebounds.
What are the odds?
Meanwhile, Miami are pegged at 7.25 to come from behind to beat the Lakers in seven games and have 2.81 odds to at least push the series to seven games.
As for actual Game 6 odds, the money line sees the Heat as 2.81 underdogs. Meanwhile, the Asian Handicap favours the Lakers by 4.50 to 6.00 points.
The last three games have been relatively close late in the fourth quarter, so it shouldn’t be a major surprise if Game 6 goes down to the wire once again.
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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