The Lakers were 58.2 seconds away from their 17th championship when forward LeBron James scored a two-point shot. An exhausted Jimmy Butler shot key free throws to regain the lead for the Heat.
On the next play, a double teamed James dished the ball out to guard Danny Green to make a three-pointer, but Green missed the shot.
“I was able to draw two defenders below the free throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for a wide open three to win a championship,” James said. “I trust him, we trusted him, and it just didn’t go.”
Forward Markieff Morris got an offensive rebound but a bad pass would give the Heat possession of the ball, they ultimately won 111-108 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
James led the Lakers with 40 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Butler scored 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra called Butler “the true definition of a two-way player.”
“His will to win is remarkable and to do that in 47-plus minutes and take the challenge on the other end,” Spoelstra said. “Every young player coming into this league should study footage on Jimmy Butler.”
Spoelstra only allowed seven players to compete, six of whom scored in the double digits.
Lakers forward Anthony Davis reaggravated a foot injury during the first quarter. Although he was subbed out, he was still available to play.
“He was battling through the heel,” said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “he was struggling to move a little bit but toughed it out.”
The game remained close until the beginning of the second quarter, where Heat guard Kendrick Nun and forward Bam Adebayo created a six-point run. With the help of guards Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo, James found shots. However, the Heat built a 11-point lead.
Los Angeles battled back with three pointers. With paint penetration, the Lakers found an eight-point run; their deficit was cut down to three. The Heat made three pointers to stay dominant and they went into halftime ahead 60-56.
Both teams became hot from behind the arc to start the second half. With a three-pointer from Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the teams were tied at 70 points. The Heat wasted no time in extending their lead to eight points.
Los Angeles countered with a six-point run, but a four-point play by guard Jae Crowder would put Miami ahead by five points. James and Davis executed free throws in the final minutes of the third quarter, but the Lakers still trailed.
“We had time to break open a lead, we’re having too many breakdowns defensively, giving shooters wide open shots and not talking,” Davis said. “They’re gonna make us pay every time.”
A seven-point run by the Lakers chopped their deficit down to three points. As the Heat started missing shots, the Lakers made free throws. With a 23-foot three pointer, Caldwell-Pope gave Los Angeles the lead with 6:20 left in the game. He extended their lead with a dunk soon after.
Miami had no quit in them as they continued to find shots with James and Butler trading baskets towards the end. Davis dropped 28 points and grabbed 12 boards and Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points.
Heat guard Duncan Robinson scored 26 points and Nunn scored 14 points. The Lakers and the Heat will battle again on Sunday, October 11 at 4:30P.M.