In a game five in which his team had nothing else to do but win or bust, Miami Heats forward Jimmy Butler raised his stock further with another series triple-double 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists to help reduce the deficit to 3-2 in this best of seven series final against the Los Angeles Lakers.
This was a repeat performance of his game three heroics when another triple-double secured a 115-104 victory for his team.
But despite game three in which Miami Heats were overwhelming in their approach on their way to victory, game five proved how resilient they are.
After an all-conquering first three quarters, the Heats trailed by a point 97-96 with just over six minutes to play and with the Lakers at this stage in some kind of ascendance.
The Lakers indeed remained ahead 108-107 with just 22 seconds on the clock following an Anthony Davis tip-in.
From the Miami time-out that followed Butler was ironically fouled by Anthony Davis and from the resultant free-throw line, he converted both for his team to take the 109-108 lead that they held onto till the 111-108 victory. Lakers will however blame themselves for failing to capitalize on an inbound with 16 seconds to play. Markieff Morris and Danny Green fumbled taking the series to another game.
“After this, we go back to the hotel and see what happens next,” said Butler who played 47 minutes on the night. He was also full of praise for teammate Duncan Robinson who scored an impressive 26 points, most of which were epic in the context of this game whose final three minutes saw the lead exchange hands seven times.
For the Lakers, LeBron James and Anthony Davis scored double-double,40 points,12 rebounds, and 28,12 respectively.
Game six is Sunday at 7.30 ET (2.30 am East African standard time).