After two games, many thought the NBA Finals series might be over with the Lakers en route to a sweep. After a Miami win in Game 3, things get a bit more interesting heading into Tuesday night’s meeting.
The first two games went perfect for the Lakers, ending in dominating L.A. wins. Game 1 ended 116-98 and Game 2 was 124-114 as LeBron James and Anthony Davis were nearly impossible to stop.
Game 3 was as close as you can get to a must-win for the Heat, and Jimmy Butler responded with a huge night, scoring 40 points, adding 11 rebounds, and dishing out 13 assists.
“This is what he wanted, this is what we wanted,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “It’s really hard to analyze or describe Jimmy until you actually feel him between the four lines. He’s a supreme, elite competitor and we needed it.”
Lakers Can Still Take Commanding Lead
Even though the Lakers lost Game 3, a win on Tuesday will give them a 3-1 series lead. The Heat are already fighting an uphill battle, but 3-1 series deficits are nearly insurmountable.
For L.A. to take game 4, Davis has to get going early. He disappeared in the beginning of Game 3, not catching his stride until late. On offense, Davis is the key, rather than James.
James discussed in the press conference that he was not worried. He is facing a franchise that he won two titles with, and knew they weren’t going to quit. This is a big chance for James to grab his 4th title, and the pressure is on to do so.
Butler Has to Repeat Game 3
Buter has been very vocal about his team deserving to be here. Some people have written off the idea of this series being competitive at all, and he is trying to change that narrative.
To even this series up, Butler has to have a performance like he did in Game 3. The Heat are outmatched, but Butler has star power.
Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic are still listed as day-to-day, which is a huge blow to Miami’s chances Tuesday. They need all of their role players to play well to hang with this Lakers team.
Spoelstra is proving he is one of the top coaches in the NBA. After winning with James and Dwayne Wade, he is now in the Finals with a much less talented team.
The spread has been steady around nine for the first couple of games. After the Heat win, it is shrinking just a bit. The Lakers are entering this game as the favorites by 7.5 points.
I just don’t see Butler continuing to perform like he did in Game 3. They have to play perfect to stay in the game with the Lakers.
With all of the trash that Butler and James are talking, my money is on James to respond in Game 4 and take a commanding 3-1 lead.
I’m taking the Lakers to cover the 7.5 point spread in Game 4.