As LeBron James walked the court with ten seconds left, the Lakers lost game three 115-104. In the first half, James told Jimmy Butler, “You’re in trouble.” That didn’t turn out so well. Butler had a playoff career night, triple-double with 40 points, 11 rebs, and 13 assists. Butler reciprocated the same energy to James at the end of the game, “You in trouble.” As a result, the Lakers will not sweep Miami as most predicted.
James nearly touched a triple-double with 25 points, ten rebounds, and eight assists, but it was not enough to put away the Heat as they fought to refrain from being down 3-0. James had five first-half turnovers, and eight total for the game, he acknowledged he has to do better in the future. “Can’t turn the ball over against this team. It starts with myself being the starting point guard of the team having five first-half turnovers. Can’t do that because it gives them more possessions, it doesn’t allow us to set our defense and are good offensively. I take full credit for that.”
The Lakers will look at the film on how to defend Jimmy Butler, and James said he did everything he could to make sure his team wins. Anthony Davis was in foul trouble the entire game, and James noted that it made him more passive. Davis finished the game with 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists. “The foul trouble made him a little passive, because he wanted to be on the floor but could not be his aggressive self, offensively and defensively. I think the fouls slowed him down tonight.” James said he believed the Lakers played poorly, but he likes their fight as they continue to get better.
On Tuesday, the Lakers will have an opportunity to take the series lead to 3-1. James and the Lakers understand how resilient the Miami Heat is, but they are not concerned about game three’s loss said, James. “The series wasn’t over if we won tonight. We know for sure Miami is never going to quit, no matter if we won tonight. I know how resilient that bunch is and how resilient that coaching staff is and their franchise. I don’t ever feel like we guard down, and I don’t feel like we’re concerned. We know we can play a lot better.”
James doesn’t take for granted the opportunity to play against fearless competitors like Butler. He hinted at the fact that he will be retiring soon. “Butler is one of the best competitors in the game. We love that opportunity. For me personally, I don’t know how many more opportunities I’m going to have to go against a fearless like competitor like that is something I will look back on when I’m done playing, but I will miss those moments.”