Heat Outlast Lakers In Instant Classic
The championship trophy was in the building, and the Los Angeles Lakers were up 3-1 with a chance to close out the NBA Finals and win their 17th championship.
The Miami Heat had other plans.
The Heat pulled off a 111-108 thriller in what is sure to go down as an instant classic Finals game.
Here are 3 takeaways from Game 5.
1. Jimmy Buckets
There aren't many superlatives left to describe Butler's performance in these Finals, but tonight, he was simply amazing.
Butler scored 35 points, while recording 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his second triple-double of these Finals.
And he did it while hardly coming off of the floor.
With the game in the balance and LeBron James looking as if he were going to will the Lakers to a title, Butler made sure the Lakers would not hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy Friday.
The performance saved the Heat's season while also putting Butler in some elite company all time.
2. The Lakers' final possesion
Trailing 109-108 with 16 seconds remaining, the Lakers got the ball to LeBron James out top with a chance to win the game.
Calling for a screen from Danny Green, in hopes to get Jimmy Butler switched off of him for Duncan Robinson, James drove into the heart of the Heat's defense and kicked it to an open Green for the chance to win the game and the NBA title.
It was not a storybook ending for the Lakers.
In what is sure to be a hotly debated moment, Green missed the three, leaving questions as to why James didn't take the final shot himself, having scored 40 points on 15-for-21 shooting.
James responded to any questions about his decision to pass the ball after the game.
Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum shared the same sentiments as James, believing he made the correct play with the game on the line.
But not everyone supported The King's decision.
The Lakers will get a mulligan on Sunday night with a chance to close the series out in Game 6.
3. Duncan Robinson comes to life
Through the first three games of the Finals, Robinson struggled to find his shot, shooting 20% from three-point range.
In Game 4, he started to come out of his slump with a 3-for-6 shooting night from behind the arc, and in Game 5, he went supernova.
Robinson was the second leading scorer for the Heat with 26 points, behind Butler's 31.
In a game where James and Anthony Davis combined for 78 points for the Lakers, the Heat needed as much firepower as they could get to keep pace.
Robinson provided that in a major way – and thanks in part to his outburst, he'll have a chance to do it again on Sunday.