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Basketball

NBA Finals Game 5

Sorry that I didn’t get my recap done immediately after the game. I had a busy day on and I couldn’t watch it until later on. Then I was plagued by internet problems. Ugh!

It’s not over yet! The Miami Heat hold on and win, 111-108 to force a game 6 on Monday. The duel between Butler and James stole the story, it was like a heavyweight boxing fight between two champions. They traded punch after punch, with Butler eventually coming out on top. Both men lead their teams in points, rebounds, assists and steals. The finals MVP will go to one of these men, it just depends who wins the series.

Butler played all but 48 seconds of this game. He sat for 48 seconds to end the first quarter and then played for three whole quarters. It’s a cliche, but Jimmy really did leave everything out there. Again. Can I just mention again that Jimmy played 47 minutes and 11 seconds in a regulation game. There was no overtime. 35 points on 58% shooting. A perfect 12 of 12 from the charity stripe. 12 rebounds. 11 assists. 5 steals. 1 block. Only 3 turnovers. What more can you ask of Butler? Oh yeah and he guarded LeBron. The will of Jimmy Butler is incredible. The Lakers are still the favourites moving ahead, but it’s hard to bet against Butler.

Duncan Robinson was locked in from long range, going 7 of 13 from downtown on his way to 26 points. He added 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. The highlight was definitely his long range shooting, hopefully this kick starts him and he can back it up in the next game.

Kendrick Nunn was ballin’! I’m actually surprised checking his box score shows only 14 points. I thought he would have had at least 20. I suppose it makes sense though, considering Jimmy took over. Nunn was nunntheless (ha!) an effective spark off of the bench for Miami. 55% shooting, 50% from downtown, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

Herro shot 66% from downtown (2 of 3) on his way to 11 points. However, he only shot 36% overall and did not make his usual impact in this game or the fourth quarter. He only grabbed one board and 3 assists. Miami definitely need more from him in Game 6. Crowder continued to bomb away from long range and continued to miss. 2 of 9 from outside and 4 of 13 overall. Yikes. Iggy went 0 of 2, but grabbed 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in his 20 minutes.

Finally, Bam gave it his best attempt but is clearly still playing wounded. He played 39 minutes which is very impressive all things considered. He was clearly frustrated at himself throughout, especially after missing an easy dunk. Bam finished 5 of 12 overall (41%) for 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block. It would be easy to criticise his box score, but because he is injured I won’t. It was a valiant effort from Bam to even be out there. That being said, if he is going to be out there, he needs to be a dominant force, not a liability. Luckily, other guys stepped up tonight.

For the Lakers, LeBron lead the way with another incredible performance. 40 points on 71% shooting, 6 of 9 from downtown. That’s amazing. 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. This was truly an incredible performance from LeBron James, I’m sure he is frustrated it ended in a loss. It felt like he couldn’t miss from long range. His running mate, AD scored 28 points on 60% shooting. He added 12 rebounds, 3 each of rebounds, assists and steals. Hopefully his injury is nothing too serious.

The only other Laker who stood out in a (semi) positive way, was KCP. He had a mostly decent game for Los Angeles, scoring 16 points on 40% shooting. I say mostly, because he went cold right when the game mattered the most. He hit one clutch three, to put him at 60% from deep. KCP then proceeded to miss 3 more clutch 3 attempts in then next minute or two, dropping his percentage down to 37%.

Howard apparently played 15 minutes on his way to 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 technical foul and 1 flagrant. Kuzma missed all 4 of his long range attempts, shot 3 of 10 overall for 7 points and 1 rebound. Rondo had 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. However, he shot 14% overall for 4 points. Caruso shot 33% for 3 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds. At least the stat sheet looks nice.

I’ve saved the best two for last. Morris played 23 minutes for a massive 1 rebound and 3 turnovers, including throwing the ball out of bounds to end the game. I understand that he was trying to get the ball to Davis (I think), but there where a lot of better decisions to make in that moment.

Finally, my man, Danny Green. Clanks the potential game (and series) winner on a wide open shot. You don’t get more open than that. James drew everyone to him and kicked the pass out to the top. I get that it’s not easy to make a shot like that in the moment, but that is as easy as it’ll get. For someone who prides himself as a champion and a catch and shoot star, they are the shots that he needs to make. Once again, Green failed to step up.

I blame Vogel for putting Morris and Green out there on the final play. I don’t mean to pile hate on Green, but he is not the kind of player I would want taking the last shot. You all know I value consistency. Green does not give you that.

Miami connected on 14 three pointers (half of which belonged to Robinson) on 43% accuracy. They shot an incredible 95% at the free throw line, missing just one attempt. Finally, they shot 46% overall. They managed to keep the rebound battle close and were only -10 in points in the paint. They managed to keep everything else pretty close. It is so impressive that no matter what, this Heat team just keep competing. They always find a way.

What’s promising for Los Angeles is the fact that they were right in this game, even though basically everyone underperformed. Spoelstra really tightened his rotations and played just 7 guys. Vogel played 9. I wonder if he will consider tightening the rotations as well? I genuinely think it is time to consider at least taking Green out of the rotation. Maybe Howard as well. Play Davis at the centre from the start and maybe Morris to play backup. I’m sure he will figure something out.

Lakers still have the advantages heading into Game 6. They only have to win one more game. Miami have to get 2. I wonder if Jimmy will play 48 minutes. I’m looking forward to hopefully another close match up. See you all tomorrow!

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