The Miami Heat have clawed their way back into the 2020 NBA Finals after grabbing a much-needed Game 3 win over the LA Lakers. It has provided the Heat with potential momentum to vie for the NBA title. However, following Sunday’s game, some of the attention shifted away from the Heat’s impressive performance to what LeBron James did at the end of the contest that drew strong criticism.
Heat grab Game 3 win behind Jimmy Butler’s huge outing
Following the Lakers taking a 2-0 series lead to begin the NBA Finals, the Heat responded in Game 3.
Miami finally broke through behind star Jimmy Butler’s impressive triple-double outing on Sunday night. Butler guided his team forward behind his collective play as he posted game-highs across the board with 40 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds in the win.
It marked the first time an opponent in the NBA Finals outscored, outrebounded, and outassisted LeBron James. Butler was nothing short than remarkable as he paced his team offensively behind his scoring and passing while helping keep the Lakers offense at bay.
Miami held a 52-34 advantage with points in the paint and forced the Lakers to commit 20 turnovers. The Heat put Anthony Davis into foul trouble while LA fell in love with the 3-point line taking 42 attempts shooting just 33.3%. It was a strong outing for Miami, but one of the focuses was on what James did late in the game that caught many NBA fans’ ire.
LeBron James draws criticism for leaving Game 3 early
Beyond Jimmy Butler’s outstanding performance and the Heat getting a much-needed win, what caught much attention was what LeBron James did at the end of the game.
With the win in hand for the Heat, James and a few other teammates exited the floor and headed to the locker room with a few seconds left in the game. That resulted in many fans over Twitter taking shots at the star forward for his actions on Sunday night.
These responses varied from him hurting his Lakers’ legacy to it being disrespectful to the Heat. His actions were taken out of frustrations regarding his and his team’s performance in Game 3.
James’ emotions got the best of him at the moment that led to him going that route in the last few seconds of the game. It’s hard to believe it was him showing up the Heat or Butler, but it’s something that will stick with fans moving forward in the series.
Lakers focused on bouncing back in Game 4
The strong criticism aside from what LeBron James did at the end of Sunday’s, the Lakers’ focus is to bounce back in Game 4.
LA struggled to get anything substantial going offensively throughout the contest but managed to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Anthony Davis also struggled with foul trouble throughout. His offensive involvement was minimal due to that as it saw Markieff Morris take more 3-point attempts (11) than Davis took shots in the game (nine).
The Lakers will re-shift their game plan back to getting their star big man heavily involved in the offense like he was in the series’s first two games. Game 4 is a huge contest that could put LA a significant step forward toward securing an NBA title.
The Heat have gathered more confidence after the Game 3 win and could get an added boost with Bam Adebayo potentially back in the mix. The series is still in the Lakers’ control, and a bounce-back outing in Game 4 will be pivotal to crushing the Heat’s championship hopes.