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2020 NBA Finals Game 5 Preview: Can The Heat Stave Off Elimination?

Down 3-1, Miami has to win tonight to keep the series going.

2020 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Well, we can say this for certain about Game 4 of the 2020 NBA Finals: The Miami Heat had a chance to win.

Not in the “oh, they missed a shot at the buzzer and the Lakers won” kind of way, but in the “this was a competitive game and it went against Miami” kind of way. The first half featured seven lead changes and only once did the lead for either side eclipse five points.

In the second half, the Lakers started with a two point lead, and Miami fairly quickly took an advantage of their own early. But the Lakers rallied and Miami would only even tie the game one more time. That came on a Jimmy Butler layup with 6:27 to go, and it evened the score at 83 each. The Lakers, specifically LeBron James, would score the next five points of the game as things returned to the state that they were for most of the second half: LA leading by somewhere between one and seven points.

A three by Jae Crowder with 97 seconds remaining trimmed the lead to four, 95-91, but the Lakers answered with a layup from Rajon Rondo, and that was followed up with a three from Anthony Davis with 40 seconds left to provide the dagger. The triple from The Brow gave the Lakers their largest lead of the game at nine points.

Like I said, the Heat had a chance to win. It was there. They couldn’t get it done.

A combination of rebounding and shooting was the problem for the Heat in this one. Yes, I know, it’s basketball, ha ha, everything is shooting and rebounding. Miami got outshot by the Lakers, although just barely, and then the Heat also let Los Angeles get to a much bigger percentage of their missed shots than Miami was able to round up. When you’re getting outshot and you keep giving up second chances when you actually induce a miss, you’re going to struggle to win. That’s just how it works.

One game after posting a 40 point triple-double, Jimmy Butler was great again for the Heat, just not masterfully amazingly great. He barely missed a triple-double again, finishing with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. Butler also added three steals and a block. Jae Crowder struggled shooting the ball, going 2-for-7 from behind the arc on the night to finish with eight points. He also contributed seven rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block, which is pretty great stuff for the NBA Finals if we’re being honest. It just wasn’t enough to push Miami over the line to even the series at two games each.

Instead, we’re looking at a 3-1 Lakers lead heading to Game 5 on Friday night. Miami will have to find a way to win to keep the series going. Will that way be getting Goran Dragic back in the lineup? The 6’3” lefty tried out his injured foot before Game 4 but ultimately was unable to play. He’ll have two more days of healing and treatment before Friday night, but if he’s not at even 75% capacity, perhaps he wouldn’t be able to add what the Heat need to extend the Finals to a Game 6.

2020 NBA FINALS

GAME 5

Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat

Date: Friday, October 9, 2020
Time: 8pm Central
Location: Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports Complex
Television: ABC
Streaming: WatchESPN.com
Twitter Updates: @NBA & @MiamiHeat