NBA Finals Game 4: Lakers/Heat Preview

by Big Al Staff

The Miami Heat made the NBA Finals a competitive series on Sunday with their 115-104 upset victory the Lakers as a 9-point underdog. They have the opportunity to even this series at two games apiece tonight at 9 PM ET.

Jimmy Butler put his team on his shoulders by scoring 40 points while adding 13 assists and 11 rebounds for his first triple-double in the playoffs in his career. That was a throwback performance for Butler when considering that none of his points came from a made 3-pointer. This effort was rated by Basketball-Reference with their second-best Grade Score mark in the NBA playoff history going back to 1984 when they start making those measurements. It was the ninth time that Butler scored at least 30 points in a playoff game in his 44 postseason contests since 2015 when he first made the All-Star team.

The Heat won that game despite not having the services of Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo. Dragic remains doubtful for tonight with his foot injury, but Adebayo has been upgraded to questionable. Adebayo was claiming that he wanted to play on Sunday despite his neck injury, but the Miami staff decided against it. With another two days of rest and healing, Adebayo may return to the court tonight. It remains uncertain for how long he will play along to what level of effectiveness he can perform.

Miami won all four quarters of Game 3 even without the services of Adebayo and Dragic. The Heat also won the final two-quarters of Game 2 in their 124-114 loss to the Lakers, so they will begin the 1st quarter tonight having won six straight quarters in this series despite the injuries to two of their top three scorers.

The Heat won Game 3 despite Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson missing 12 of their 17 shots from 3-point land. That 29.4% shooting clip from downtown was far below the 38.9% shooting percentage they combined to produce during the regular season.

The Lakers stumbled out of the gates on Sunday by committing ten turnovers in the 1st quarter after turning the ball over just 11 times on Friday in Game 2. Los Angeles ended the game with 20 turnovers. Kentavious Caldwell Pope and Danny Green missed 10 of their 11 shots from 3-point land in Game 3.

Anthony Davis scored only 15 points as well after only playing 33 minutes after getting whistled for three personal fouls in the first half. Davis only had nine shots from the field after scoring at least 32 points in the first two games of this series. Sunday’s game was just the 16th time all season that Davis did not score at least 20 points this season.

LeBron James scored 25 points while adding ten rebounds and eight assists in Game 3. However, his eight turnovers were out of character. It is a rare occurrence when James is not the best player on the court, but that was the case on Sunday with Jimmy Butler owning the spotlight.

ABC has the broadcast. The Lakers are 7-point favorites at BetAnySports with the total set at 219.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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