Lakers Edged in First Bid For Record-Tying 17th NBA Title

2020 NBA Finals - Game Five

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Lakers first opportunity to win a record-tying 17th NBA championship was foiled tonight by a 35-point triple-double by Jimmy Butler.

Butler scored eight of the Miami Heat's final 10 points, including the two go-ahead free throws with 16.8 seconds left, in a 111-108 victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, cutting the Lakers lead to three games to two.

The Lakers had a chance to regain the lead on the ensuing possession, but Danny Green missed a 3-point shot with 7.1 seconds left. Markieff Morris grabbed the rebound, but threw the ball out of bounds with 2.2 seconds to play.

Tyler Herro made two free throws for the Heat with 1.6 seconds remaining. LeBron James missed a desperation 3-point shot from 40 feet as time expired.

Game 6 of the best-of-seven series will be played Sunday. The entire NBA postseason is being played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An 8-0 run including 3-point baskets by James and Green helped the Lakers turn a 93-82 deficit with 10 minutes, 31 seconds left to a 97-96 lead with 6:20 left. The lead was the Lakers first since the first quarter.

There were six lead changes and four ties in the final 2:52.

James' two free throws tied the score, 101-101 with 2:52 left.

Butler's 20-foot pullup shot gave Miami a 103-101 lead with 1:51 remaining.

James' 3-point play put the Lakers ahead 104-103 17 seconds later.

The Heat regained the lead on Butler's 7-foot turnaround fadeaway shot with 1:13 to play. James grabbed the rebound of his missed layup and scored on the putback to put the Lakers up 106-105 with 58.2 seconds left.

Butler's two free throws gave Miami a 107-106 lead with 46.7 seconds left.

Anthony Davis grabbed the rebound of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's missed 3-point shot and made a layup to give the Lakers what would be their last lead, 108-107, with 21.8 seconds remaining.

James had 40 points, a game-high 13 rebounds and a team-high seven assists. Davis added 28 and Caldwell-Pope 16.

Butler had 12 rebounds and a game-high 11 assists for his second triple-double of the finals. He played all but 38 seconds.

Duncan Robinson added 26 as all five Heat starters finished in double figures, along with reserve Kendrick Nunn.

Green had a game-best plus-12 plus/minus. James and Davis were the other Lakers to have a positive plus/minus, both at plus-7. Robinson had Miami's best plus/minus at plus-7.

Despite the loss, history remains on the Lakers side. Of the 35 previous teams to take 3-1 leads in the finals, only the 2016 Golden State Warriors failed to win the title, losing to the James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.

The loss was the Lakers first of the 2020 playoffs in their “Black Mamba” uniform designed in part by the franchise's late legend Kobe Bryant after four victories, including a 124-114 victory in Game 2 last Friday.

The Lakers had initially planned to wear their purple “Statement” uniform for Game 5, but switched to the “Black Mamba” uniform because Friday's game could have been the last of the series.

The Lakers were the designated home team Friday and had the choice of which uniform to wear. They would also wear the Black Mamba uniform if a seventh game is necessary when they would also be the designated home team.

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