The Miami Heat pulled out an incredible win in game three against the Lakers, 115-104. This was behind the incredible performance of Jimmy Butler. Here are five takeaways…
#1: Jimmy Butler plays with fire in first half explosion.
Jimmy Butler came out in game two looking to score, but game three was even better. He had 19 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds at the half, but stats cannot explain what Jimmy was doing on the floor. Constant energy and intensity on both sides of the floor, which is contagious for his teammates. He made sure to let everybody know that if they grab rebounds, they can win. That message seemed to be fresh in everyone’s minds since there was an eagerness to be aggressive on the boards. Jimmy’s leadership was also on full display tonight as well. Not only with the ball in his hands, but also his voice after plays. He constantly would let the young guys know when they did something wrong, which is much needed at this point in the finals. Jimmy further proved that he has the ability to flip a switch, not just scoring, but doing everything on the basketball court.
#2: Early turnovers for Lakers turn into Heat offense.
Turnovers for the Lakers were the story of the first quarter, since it seemed they just could not get into a rhythm. The Lakers had 14 turnovers at the half, LeBron James and Anthony Davis combining for 9 of them. Miami’s defensive plan going in was to make these guys uncomfortable, which is exactly what they did. Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, and Andre Iguodala were at the forefront of that, utilizing their defensive IQ. This ultimately allowed Jimmy Butler and others to get more possessions on the offensive end, which they were capitalizing on. Anthony Davis had some rough first half minutes due to Miami’s intensity, which was key for this team going into game three down 0-2.
#3: Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro early struggles, still gave Miami a 4 point halftime lead.
Not many would’ve believed that the Heat would lead by four at the half with Tyler Herro shooting 1 for 8 from the field and Duncan Robinson shooting 1 for 5 from deep. But well, it happened. Tyler Herro was going to be a key piece heading in, since he’s a guy that can replicate some things that Goran Dragic brings offensively. Duncan also had a tough time since the shots were not falling. This led to him penetrating and utilizing the other parts of his game, and when Duncan attacks, good things usually happen. These shooting struggles clearly were temporary, since both Tyler and Duncan hit a three to start the third quarter.
#4: Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard give quality minutes in the absence of Bam Adebayo.
Meyers Leonard obviously only played for some short spurts, and they were some quality minutes. 7 points going 3 for 3 from the field definitely was a boost to this team. Also he obviously brings the vocal side of things when on the floor, which makes the young guys more comfortable on the defensive end. Kelly Olynyk on the other hand didn’t have a great start to the game, but bounced back in the third quarter. His ability to be such a threat from beyond the arc was crucial for Miami tonight, especially since it forces the Lakers bigs to go out to the perimeter. This was a big reason Jimmy Butler was able to attack so well, since he thrives when he plays with a floor spacer like Kelly.
#5: The Miami Heat’s statement game fully displayed Heat culture.
This is the ultimate takeaway: A statement game. That’s exactly what this Jimmy Butler led team did in game three. When everyone doubted, this team didn’t lack an ounce of confidence. That’s because of two words: Heat culture. This was the ultimate representation of this. A coaching adjustment when two of your starters get injured, your star player showing he can flip the switch, and the role players stepping up to play their new roles. If that doesn’t prove Heat culture, I don’t know what does. This game three win means more than both of the Lakers wins. Now, the momentum has completely shifted. And Bam Adebayo could possibly return in game four. As Jimmy Butler said during the game, “They are in trouble.”