by Harry Porter | The Miami Heat came out playing like a team knowing that game three was a must win game.
1st Quarter: Heat zone overwhelms Lakers and forces 10 turnovers
Their defense was aggressive with high energy and timely double teams. They forced ten turnovers, including four for both LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Jimmy Butler led the Heat on offense as the primary facilitator and scored eight points with three assists and two steals. James scored eight points and added four rebounds and four assists including a strong dribble-drive penetration before finding Kyle Kuzma in the corner for a buzzer-beating three. The Heat narrowly held on to the lead, up 26-23 at the end of the first quarter.
2nd Quarter: Lakers and Heat continue back and forth scoring
The Heat and Lakers opened up the quarter with a back and forth scoring effort built on wearing the opponent down on defense until Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel called a timeout with the score at 30-29, Miami. Alex Caruso drained the Lakers’ sixth three of the half to extend the Lakers lead to 37-33 with 7:15 left in the second quarter. Jae Crowder caught a wide open skip in the corner and scored eight points after he made the wide open three to cut the Lakers lead to 37-36.
The Heat would go on a 9-0 run with 6:00 minutes left leading 42-37. Davis was forced to return to the bench with his third foul after an offensive charge with five minutes left in the first quarter. The Heat led 58-54 at halftime.
3rd Quarter: Heat stretch lead to game high 14-points
The Heat started the third quarter with a 14-point scoring run to extend their lead to 68-54, Miami’s largest lead of the Finals thus far. Davis picked up his fourth personal foul with 10:22 left in the third quarter and Coach Vogel elected to keep him in the game. The Lakers responded with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 68-62 with six minutes left in the third quarter. King James scored a last second layup to cut Miami’s lead to five, 85-80.
4th Quarter: Miami continues strong fourth quarter performance in the playoffs
The Lakers opened up the fourth quarter with a 11-4 run to regain their first lead of game three since the score was 37-36. Jimmy Butler had a signature fourth quarter and finished the game with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. The Lakers held a brief lead but the Heat pulled out the game, winning 115-104. LeBron James finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists and Davis chipped in 15 points despite struggling with foul trouble.
Game Four Prediction:
I think the Lakers will come back to win game four and take command of the series with a 118-106 win behind a 30-point, NBA Finals M.V.P. performance from LeBron James. While the Heat put up a valiant fight, injuries have gotten the better of them at the worst possible time.
Game four of the NBA finals will be broadcast on Tuesday on ABC at 7:00pm MST.