The Miami Heat finally got some footing in the 2020 NBA Finals after topping the LA Lakers in Game 3. That has given them some potential momentum to build on moving forward in the series to push their way toward an NBA title. The Heat‘s chances just got a significant lift after the latest development around the team in the hours ahead of Game 4.
Heat grab massive Game 3 win
With their backs against the wall, the Miami Heat grabbed a much-needed win over the Lakers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
It was an impressive performance guided by star forward Jimmy Butler, who posted a triple-double effort with 40 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds in the contest. Butler’s outing made him the first player to outscore, outrebound, and outassist LeBron James in an NBA Finals game.
Butler paced the Heat behind his all-around effort while the Lakers struggled to keep up offensively. Anthony Davis’ foul trouble throughout the game prevented him from garnering any rhythm. Meanwhile, LA committed 20 turnovers while shooting 33.3% from 3-point range on 42 attempts.
The win has given Miami life in the series with a chance to increase their NBA title hopes with a win in Game 4 on Tuesday night. Those odds were just boosted after the news of their core players set to return to action.
Bam Adebayo expected to play in Game 4
One of the biggest storylines through the first three games of the NBA Finals has been the Heat’s struggles with injuries.
That has seen them operate without two key contributors in All-Star big man Ban Adebayo and guard Goran Dragic. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Miami will get one of them back for Game 4 on Tuesday with Adebayo lined up to play on Tuesday night.
Adebayo suffered a neck strain injury during Game 1, resulting in exiting early in the third quarter. He missed the last two games of the series, which has seen his presence in the paint on both ends of the floor greatly missed. The Heat received solid offensive production from Kelly Olynyk in Adebayo’s absence as he was the first player to have 24 points and nine rebounds off the bench in an NBA Finals game.
Adebayo should provide the Heat with a significant boost, given his role on the team. He has been a huge factor in setting the tone defensively, while he has picked it up offensively in the playoffs averaging 17.8 points on 55.7% shooting from the floor and 81.4% from the free-throw line.
There isn’t any indication of his minute workload, but his return to the floor is a massive addition for the Heat.
Heat hoping to build on momentum
As much as the Lakers took their foot off the gas in Game 3, it was a contest controlled by the Miami Heat.
Jimmy Butler had his fingerprints all over the game on both ends of the floor. Bam Adebayo’s presence eases the workload on Butler’s shoulders to playmake as the big man has proven to be a talented passer. Meanwhile, his play defensively will help the Heat match up better against Anthony Davis, who will be looking to bounce back after a quiet 15-point outing in Game 3.
Miami has the momentum working in their favor, with the Lakers playing more to their style. If the Heat can continue that trend, it could shift the tide and pressure LA to match their intensity and pace.
All that sets up a critical Game 4 that could go a long way in determining how the remainder of the NBA Finals plays out for the NBA title.