The LA Lakers are once again at the doorstep of securing an NBA title. The Lakers were denied in Game 5 by the Miami Heat after a stellar outing from Jimmy Butler. That has guided LA to make a massive change before Game 6 on Sunday night.
Heat snag Game 5 win behind Jimmy Butler’s performance
With their back against the wall yet again, the Heat responded in impressive fashion.
That once again saw star forward Jimmy Butler lead the charge as he put forth his second triple-double effort in the series. Butler was a dominant factor with his playmaking as a passer and a constant scoring problem. He finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, and had five steals.
His play was backed up by Duncan Robinson putting up his best outing of the NBA Finals. Robinson finished with 26 points with six made 3-pointers in the win. The Lakers received a 40-point triple-double from LeBron James with six made 3-pointers in the contest. Anthony Davis battled through injuries by recording 28 points and 12 rebounds.
The contest wound up coming down to a missed Danny Green 3-pointer that could have potentially secured a series win for the Lakers. It was obviously much more than that missed 3-pointer that led to their disappointing loss. With that in mind, the Lakers are making a significant adjustment ahead of Game 6.
Lakers will make lineup change for Game 6
The Lakers’ failed opportunity to secure the NBA title on Friday night has led to the team making more internal adjustments to finally secure a series win.
That has guided head coach Frank Vogel to make a notable change to the starting lineup ahead of Game 6. According to Sham Charania of The Athletic, Vogel has elected to take Dwight Howard out of the lineup and put Alex Caruso in his place.
That massive change will see Anthony Davis slide over to playing the starting center position. Meanwhile, LeBron James will move to the power forward spot while either Danny Green or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will play at small forward. The move is made in a direct correlation to Jimmy Butler’s effectiveness throughout the series.
The Lakers previously moved Davis to guard Butler, but that has seen the Heat star forward work to get switches to have Howard on him. In those situations, he has taken advantage of the former All-Sar big man with his quickness to find an effective shot or playmake for teammates.
What it signals more than anything else is that the Lakers are concerned about Butler’s performance as it opened things up his teammates such as Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Kendrick Nunn to be more significant offensive factors. In other words, it’s another chess move from the Lakers to counter what the Heat have done with their star.
Lakers eyeing to close out series
Beyond that move, the message is clear that the Lakers want to close the series out on Sunday night.
The Heat have more than shown that they can challenge LA even without veteran guard Goran Dragic. Jimmy Butler has been the focal point of their success, and that will continue to be the case for the rest of the NBA Finals.
The Lakers will enter Game 6 a bit dinged up with Anthony Davis dealing with a contusion on his right heel and a hip injury. That will be something to watch throughout Sunday’s game to see how much ailments impact his performance. That could put more of the weight on LeBron James’ shoulders to guide LA to an NBA title.
He’s coming off a 40-point triple-double, which was more than enough to guide the team to a win on Friday. With a championship on the line, more of the same can be expected from James to put forth a stellar effort. All of that shapes up for what should be an entertaining Game 6 that could make for another intense push to the finish.