NBA Finals: Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler notches a triple-double in Game 3 victory over Lakers

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But there’s fire in the Heat yet.

A 40-point triple-double by Miami’s Jimmy Butler saw his team to victory by a margin of 115-104.

Butler’s historic tally, which included 11 rebounds and 13 assists, is only the third 40-point triple-double in NBA Finals history after LeBron James in 2015 and NBA legend Jerry West in 1969.
Jimmy Butler is only the third player in history to score a 40-point triple-double in the NBA Finals.
Owing to the loss of Dragic and Adebayo, the Heat went into the game as nine-point underdogs. Consequentially, their subsequent victory marks the second-largest upset in the NBA Finals in the last 30 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The game followed a familiar pattern of the Lakers chasing a double-digit point deficit, before taking the lead by one or two points. The Heat would then surge and reclaim a double-digit lead.

In an echo of Game 1, Miami hit the ground running in the first quarter, taking advantage of sloppy play from the Lakers to take a 22-9 lead in an opening eight minutes that included nine turnovers from the Lakers.

Though the LA team fought back to make it a one-score game, they appeared on the back foot for a large part of the game.

The Heat went into the fourth quarter with a similar double-digit lead and the Lakers were unable to come back this time.

The Lakers' LeBron James is one of only two others to have scored a 40-point triple-double in the NBA Finals, doing so in 2015 for the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors.

‘You’ve got to empty the tank’

Despite Los Angeles’ Anthony Davis being filmed before the game saying, “Job’s not done. Two more wins. It’s a good opponent. We’ve got to be better though, once again,” the Lakers couldn’t match the drive of their opponents.
While Miami have two current All-Stars in Butler and Adebayo, their team bond, mentality and camaraderie is the envy of the league.

This was on show after the game. Having put in the performance of his career and producing one of the great NBA Finals performances, Butler would be forgiven for talking about himself.

Instead, he said: “I don’t care about the triple-double, I really don’t. I want to win. We did that. I am happy with the outcome.

“We realize that we belong. [The Lakers] can be beat as long as we do what we are supposed to do. Come the next game, I know they are going to be so much better. We have got to be able to match that energy.”

Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler (22) passes the ball against Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard (39) and Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) during Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals.
He continued: “I go out there and I go to war for those guys because whenever they’re out there, they’re going to war with and for me.

“You’ve got to empty the tank on every possession. I’ve got the easy job. These guys create so much space for me, I get to shoot it whenever I’m open, pass it whenever I’m not. I really do have the easy job.

“But none of us, none of us are ever going to leave anything in the tank. We’re going to lay it all out there on the floor.”

Butler’s teammates spoke effusively of his contribution, with rookie Tyler Herro saying: “I wasn’t surprised, we know how Jimmy is in these moments.

“He just played tremendous for us, he did everything. He ran the offense, made play after play, bucket after bucket. Defensively, guarding LeBron, he made it tough on him. Being a leader out there, and we all followed him.”

James himself also had a few kind words, saying: “Jimmy was phenomenal. He did everything they needed for him to do tonight. He came through big time in a big-time game.”

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