Miami [US], October 5 (ANI): Miami Heat beat Los Angeles Lakers 115-104 in Game 3 of the 2020 NBA Finals on Sunday (local time) as Jimmy Butler recorded a 40-point triple-double (40p, 11r, 13a) to keep the Heat alive in the series at 2-1.
With Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo unavailable for Game 3, Butler lived up to his superstar billing to become the third player in league history to record such a stat line in the finals and the first to do so in a win.
Butler became only the third player after Jerry West and LeBron James to record a 40-point triple-double in NBA Finals history. He is also the first player since Shaquille O'Neal in 2002 to score 40 points without attempting a three-pointer.
However, these stats didn't matter to the 30-year-old. "We won. I could care less about a triple-double. We play this game to win. We are here to win, we are here to compete. But we're not going to lay down, we're going to fight back in this thing, even it up 2-2," said Butler after the win.
The Heat got off to a great start taking a double-digit lead in the first quarter, but the Lakers fought back and stayed within touching distance of the Heat's score. As Anthony Davis struggled with fouls and turnovers, Butler scored 11 points in the second quarter to maintain Heat's lead.
"It (foul trouble) had an impact. Picked up two early, come in, and get the third. So, it takes away the aggressiveness on both ends of the floor that I'm used to playing with, and those guys like to take charges or whatever, and you know, try to draw offensive fouls," said Davis.
The Lakers took the lead at 91-89 after an 8-0 scoring run in the final quarter, however, Heat remained relentless and recorded an 8-0 scoring run of their own to seal the deal. "Obviously, this was a very desperate urgent game and he (Butler) was doing it on both ends of the court, just put his imprint on every important part of the game," said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel also agreed that his team needs to do a better job on Butler.
"Identifying the right situations to help, the right situations not to help. We didn't do a good job in those situations, but obviously, we'll look at the tape and see ways we can be better," said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. (ANI)