The Lakers took a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals on Tuesday night with a 102-96 win over the Heat as LeBron James and Anthony Davis led the way over Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. Here’s the breakdown.
Lakers 102, Heat 96 – LeBron James overcame a quiet first half for 28 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 8-of-16 shooting in 39 minutes. He did it! He missed a couple of early free throws but came through in the end by hitting 10-of-12 of them and leading his team to a commanding 3-1 lead over the Heat. The Lakers are going to be NBA champions in the ‘Year of Mamba,’ and I couldn’t be happier about it, since that was my pick from the start of the season. No, I didn’t have the Heat in the East, but I’m not sure anyone did.
LeBron hit two huge 3-pointers late and had a great second half, while Anthony Davis woke from his slumber for 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists, a steal, four blocks and two 3-pointers. Most of his blocks were impactful and a couple of them were huge down the stretch. I think AD played himself out of the Finals MVP race after his dismal Game 3 performance, but he was money last night.
Dwight Howard started, but played just eight minutes and didn’t score a point. Markieff Morris started the second half for Howard and finished with nine points, three rebounds and two assists on 2-of-8 shooting, as both of his makes were 3-pointers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the man in the first half and finished with 15 points, three rebounds, five assists and three 3-pointers, while Danny Green added 10 points and two 3-pointers, Kyle Kuzma had nine points, two rebounds and two 3-pointers, and Alex Caruso chipped in with seven points, two rebounds and a triple. Rajon Rondo scored just two points on 1-of-7 shooting, but also had seven key rebounds, five assists and a steal. Rondo was much better in real life than he was in fantasy last night.
The Heat were led by Jimmy Butler’s 22 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a block on 8-of-17 shooting and had another big game for the Heat. Tyler Herro continues to start for Goran Dragic (foot) and had 21 points, seven boards, three assists, a steal and three 3-pointers on 8-of-18 shooting, Duncan Robinson had 17 points, one rebound, three assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers on 4-of-7 shooting, and Bam Adebayo added 15 points, seven rebounds, one assist and a steal on 6-of-8 shooting in 33 minutes. Adebayo’s return from a neck injury was a big deal and he helped keep the Heat in the game for most of the night. But his assists were down and he didn’t look like his old self, which is one of the reasons the Heat lost. I’m a big Bam fan and he’s going to be a popular center pick in Rounds 3-5 in upcoming drafts.
Jae Crowder might be the unsung hero of the Heat in these playoffs and he had eight points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers in the loss. He wasn’t great tonight, but contributed across the board and has done so for the entire postseason. He’s nothing more than a late-round flier next year though, if that. Meyers Leonard fell out of the rotation with Adebayo back and I’m sorry if you rolled with him last night. I think Goran Dragic will be another game-time decision for Game 5 on Friday, but my guess is he won’t play. But Bam should be good to go, and with the Lakers not really playing a center, Bam should be a popular fantasy play on Friday. Hopefully his assists and game will bounce back on that night. If you’re a Heat fan, this thing is over. I’m sorry, but it is.
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Isaiah Thomas had resurfacing surgery on his right hip in May and should be ready for the 2020-21 season. His hip got ruined in Boston and he hasn’t been the same since, but there’s hope he can return to some kind of form next season. He’s worth a look with your final pick in fantasy drafts.
Game 5 is on Friday night and I suspect the Lakers will wrap this thing up, sending us to one of the weirdest offseasons of all time. Stay tuned. And check out Matt Stroup and me talking our Top 12 for next season right here!