Everybody expected a Los Angeles Lakers’ sweep against the Miami Heat after the LeBron James-led Lakers took a 2-0 lead and the Heat lost point guard Goran Dragic and notable defensive player Bam Adebayo to injuries but Jimmy Butler drained 40 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists, to lead the Heat to a 115-104 victory in Game 3.
Butler was the go-to man on Sunday as he dragged his team back into the title equation and many believe he may start feeling the effects of the extraordinary effort but he told the NBA’s official website that his coach, Erik Spoelstra, continues to tell him he cannot be tired.
“All I can hear is Spo [Spoelstra] over and over again telling me how I’m not tired. So, going into it, it’s like you can’t be tired, you can’t be banged up. These guys need you. They’re counting on you. If they see you, that’s how they’re going to be.
“So, to the best of my ability, I’m working on my body. I go in [the training room] this morning, I see Tyler [Herro] in there, I see Duncan [Robinson] in there, I see everybody in there. So, I know they’re feeling the same way I am. But they’re getting ready to go again.”
And he has promised to deliver another epic performance on Tuesday night. “We’re going to do everything the exact same, like we’re supposed to do on the basketball floor. I always say, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna make it to the NBA Finals. I want to play in the NBA Finals. I want to win a championship.’ That time for me is now.”
For the three-time NBA Playoffs winner, James, all he has to do is to be prepared. “Throughout the postseason, I stay even-keel,” James told the NBA’s official website. “As I’ve grown in this game and I’ve grown over the years, I kind of stay even-keel, understanding that there’s always another opportunity to get better.”
James scored 25 points on Sunday but his main partner, Anthony Davis, could only add 15, considerably less than the 65 points they jointly scored in Game 2. This is a pivotal and very important point in the seven-game series and will give the winner a greater belief in the context of the whole contest.