Recap: Lakers lose to Heat in Game 3 of NBA Finals, lead series 2-1

Lakers guard Rajon Rondo and Heat center Kelly Olynyk chase after a loose ball during Game 3 on Sunday night.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers lost to the Miami Heat, 115-104, in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night. They lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1, heading into Tuesday’s Game 4.

The Lakers lost to the Miami Heat, 115-104, in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night in Orlando, Fla.

The Lakers lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1 heading into Tuesday’s Game 4.

Not so fast: Short-handed Heat win Game 3 behind Jimmy Butler’s triple-double

Heat guard Jimmy Butler pulls up for a jumper over Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma during Game 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

With the Heat down two starters in Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, most were thinking the Lakers would be in line for an easy NBA Finals sweep.

Jimmy Butler said no.

The Heat star had 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists to lead Miami to a 115-104 win over the Lakers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night. The Lakers now lead 2-1 in the best-of-seven championship series.

“We realized that we belong,” Butler said on the ABC broadcast after the game. “They can be beat as long as we do what we’re supposed to do.”

LeBron James had 25 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and eight turnovers for the Lakers, who struggled without Anthony Davis’ star-power. Davis, who picked up four fouls early in the third quarter, finished with 15 points, five rebounds and five turnovers.

The Lakers had 19 turnovers combined.

With just 11 points combined between Dwight Howard, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Lakers needed help from their bench. Markieff Morris helped fill in for Davis with 19 points and six rebounds and Kyle Kuzma had 19 points.

Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk each had 17 points for the Heat.

Game 4 is Thursday at 6 p.m. PDT


Jimmy Butler reaches triple-double trying to hold off Lakers

Jimmy Butler has 36 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for the Heat as they lead 105-97 with 3:19 left in the fourth quarter. It’s his first playoff triple-double.


Heat up six as turnovers come back to bite Lakers

After losing their lead momentarily, the Heat have jumped back in front with a 101-95 lead with 4:40 left in the fourth quarter.

LeBron James scored or assisted on the first 11 points for the Lakers in the fourth quarter, including an 8-0 run that put the Lakers ahead, but he was called for two travels as well. The Lakers have committed 18 turnovers, including seven from James, who has 23 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

Jimmy Butler is dominating for the Heat with 32 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.

The Lakers have 46 of their 95 points from reserves, including 16 from Markieff Morris and 15 from Kyle Kuzma.


Markieff Morris coming up big off bench as Lakers take lead

Markieff Morris has 16 points off the bench, including back-to-back three-pointers that helped tie the scoree in the fourth, and then a layup from Rajon Rondo put the Lakers ahead 91-89 with 8:54 remaining.

The Lakers have scored eight straight points to take their first lead since the first quarter.

Jimmy Butler has 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to lead the Heat.


Lakers cut deficit to five points going into fourth quarter

The Lakers finished the third quarter on a 9-2 run and trail the Heat 85-80 going into the fourth.

Kyle Kuzma made a three-pointer with 34.4 seconds remaining in the third quarter as the Lakers scored seven unanswered points. Kuzma has 12 points, including three made three-pointers.

Davis scored the other four points in the streak with a mid-range jumper and a dunk.

Davis has 15 points, four rebounds and two steals after playing most of the third quarter with four fouls.

The Lakers trailed by as many as 14 in the third quarter. LeBron James has 20 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers.


Heat ahead by double digits in third quarter

Lakers forward Anthony Davis commits a foul by charging into Heat center Kelly Olynyk during Game 3.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers’ offense started to roll again in the second half, but they haven’t caught the Heat, who lead 81-70 with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter.

The Heat started the third quarter on a 10-0 run, opening up a 14-point lead that was their largest of the series, but a three-pointer from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, his first points of the night, awakened the Lakers.

The Lakers went on to score eight consecutive points, which included two field goals from Danny Green. Those were his first points of the night as well.

Rajon Rondo has five rebounds and four assists with his only basket coming off this high-arcing shot.

Anthony Davis, still playing with four fouls, has 11 points, while Jimmy Butler leads the game with 26 points for the Heat. Butler also has eight rebounds and eight assists.


Heat start second half with 8-0 run

Lakers forward LeBron James blocks a shot by Heat guard Tyler Herro during Game 3.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Heat extended their halftime lead with eight consecutive points to start the third quarter, jumping ahead 66-54 with 9:17 left to play in the third.

Tyler Herro’s first three-pointer of the night forced a Lakers timeout.

Anthony Davis picked up his fourth foul in the opening two minutes of the second half, but Lakers head coach Frank Vogel left the forward in the game.


Paul Pierce says Lakers should be happy with halftime deficit

Lakers forward Anthony Davis battles Heat guard Jimmy Butler and forward Duncan Robinson for rebounding position in Game 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Heat took a halftime lead for the first time of these NBA Finals, but Paul Pierce said the Lakers should be thrilled with just a 58-54 deficit.

Consider, the former NBA champion said on the ABC halftime show, that the Lakers are trailing by just four points, despite committing 14 turnovers and getting just five points from Anthony Davis. Also, Pierce pointed out, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have yet to score.

Green and Caldwell-Pope have missed five shots from the field combined, including four three-pointers. Green also struggled in Game 2 with three points on one-of-eight shooting, all from long distance.


Lakers trail by four points at halftime

Lakers forward LeBron James flips a pass over Heat defenders Jimmy Butler and Kendrick Nunn during Game 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Jimmy Butler carried the Heat to a 58-54 lead at halftime as the Lakers were plagued by turnovers and foul trouble.

The Lakers relied on LeBron James in the first half after Anthony Davis picked up three fouls and they committed 14 turnovers. James delivered 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. Markieff Morris contributed 10 points and two assists off the bench.

Butler has 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Davis was held to five points and one rebound in 11 minutes. He had five turnovers.

J.R. Smith, who replaced Davis in the second quarter, has three points, one rebound and one assist with all points coming on a shot from long distance.


Anthony Davis benched with third foul

Lakers forward Anthony Davis makes a pass over Heat forward Andre Iguodala during Game 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Anthony Davis picked up his third foul on a charge taken by Kelly Olynyk at the 5:28 mark of the second quarter. J.R. Smith came off the bench to replace him. With 4:27 remaining in the quarter, the Heat lead 44-40.

Davis has just two shots and five points in 11 minutes.


Heat’s 9-0 run forces Lakers to call timeout

Heat guard Jimmy Butler attempts a fadeaway jumper over Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma during Game 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Jimmy Butler’s game-high 15 points and four assists have paced the Heat to a 42-37 lead at the 6:05 mark of the second quarter. After a three-pointer from Jae Crowder, Butler scored six straight points for the Heat, forcing the Lakers to call another timeout.

The Lakers have 13 turnovers, which have led to 13 Miami points.


Anthony Davis has entered the chat

After a scoreless first quarter, Anthony Davis is trying to make up for lost time, scoring on each of his first two possessions after re-entering the game in the second quarter.

Davis made a corner three-pointer, then threw down a reverse dunk on a Rajon Rondo lob.

The Lakers trail 38-37 with 7:00 left in the second quarter. Davis has just five points with four turnovers and two fouls.


Kyle Kuzma hits three at first-quarter buzzer to cut deficit to three

Lakers forward LeBron James blocks a shot by Heat guard Tyler Herro during Game 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Despite their worst quarter of the season when it came to turnovers (10) the Lakers trail by only three points after the first as Kyle Kuzma made a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Kuzma has six points as the Lakers are trying to come back from an early 13-point deficit.

Jimmy Butler starred for the Heat with eight points, three assists and two steals.

LeBron James has eight points, two rebounds, two assists and two blocks, but Anthony Davis was almost non-existant in the first. The forward, who is working on back-to-back 30-point performances, was scoreless in the first quarter with four turnovers and two fouls that limited him to just eight minutes.

Despite the 10 turnovers, the Lakers are shooting 53.8% from the field.


Lakers fall behind by 13 in first quarter. Again.

Heat guard Tyler Herro takes a shot against the Lakers during Game 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Lakers trail 22-12 with 3:03 remaining in the first quarter as they have scored three straight points since trailing 22-9, all coming on LeBron James free throws.

The Lakers also fell behind by 13 points in the first quarter of Game 1 before blitzing the Heat for a 55-25 run and go into halftime with a 17-point lead.

James has eight points, two assists and three turnovers.


Lakers have twice the number of turnovers than made field goals

Heat forward Jae Crowder and Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope battle for ar ebound during Game 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

After nine turnovers in Game 2, the Lakers have committed nine turnovers in less than eight minutes of Game 3. Trailing 22-9 with 4:16 left to play in the first quarter, the Lakers are just four-of-eight shooting from the field.

Anthony Davis, who starred in Game 2 with 32 points, has no shot attempts with four turnovers and two fouls.


Heat are aggressive to start Game 3

Lakers forward LeBron James is fouled on a drive by Heat center Meyers Leonard during Game 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Heat won’t going down easy.

Miami forced a quick Lakers timeout, leading 16-8 at the 7:31 mark of the first quarter. The Heat’s aggressive defense has forced four Lakers turnovers already after L.A. turned it over just nine times in all of Game 2.

All five Heat starters have scored, including four points and three assists for Jimmy Butler.

With two assists early, LeBron James passed John Stockton for second all-time in playoff assists with 1,840.


Dwight Howard opens Game 3 with lob dunk

Dwight Howard remains in the starting lineup for the fifth straight game for the Lakers. He got off to a fast start with a dunk on the opening possession.

The Heat, who are without Bam Adebayo (neck) and Goran Dragic (foot), stayed with their emergency starting lineup with Tyler Herro and Meyers Leonard.


Tipoff approaches as Lakers try to take 3-0 lead

A view from The Times’ NBA reporters Dan Woike and Brad Turner as the Lakers go through final warmups before Game 3.


LeBron James takes the court

Brad Turner checks in on LeBron James, who takes some free throws during his warmup routine. James is coming off a big Game 2, when he had 33 points, nine assists and nine rebounds.


Adebayo, Dragic remain out for Heat in Game 3

Heat starters Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic are out for Game 3, missing their second straight games because of injuries as the Lakers are trying to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals.


Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard begin pregame warmups

Times NBA reporter Brad Turner has the pregame look at Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard warming up for Game 3.


Heat need more than Udonis Haslem’s energy to fuel a win over Lakers

Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem, center, and forward Jae Crowder (99) celebrate a win over the Pacers.
(Associated Press)

Udonis Haslem couldn’t contain his anger. Rising to his feet — the better to see and be seen by his Miami Heat teammates during a third-quarter timeout — he used pointed fingers and pointed words to scold them about their unacceptable effort against the Lakers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday.

At 40, the three-time NBA champion can’t scare anyone on the court anymore, but his tone and message got his teammates’ full attention.

Jimmy Butler later gave a sanitized summary of Haslem’s speech, the essence being that playing without injured center Bam Adebayo and guard Goran Dragic would require more focus and energy than the Heat had showed to that point.

“Everybody’s got to lock in. We’ve got to be three places at once. It’s so hard to do, but we’ve got guys that have to do it. That’s what it’s going to take to beat this team,” Butler recounted. “That’s what he said: Play harder. That’s what it’s going to take for us to win a championship, play hard.”

The Heat to ponder why they needed Haslem to light a fire under them after getting this far on a self-motivated, scrappy, never-say-die identity.

Haslem, who has become an unofficial assistant coach, woke them up. “Oh, yeah. I think that we’ve got to do it from the jump, though. It shouldn’t take him telling us to do that,” Butler said after his 25-point, 13-assist performance over nearly 45 minutes. “But I like the way that we responded to it. We’ve got guys that [if] you tell them what it is, they normally respond. So maybe he should just start the game off cussing people out.”



LeBron James the G.O.A.T. is a debate; his clutch play is not

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) and forward LeBron James celebrate after scoring against the Warriors during a playoff game.
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) and forward LeBron James (23) celebrate after scoring against the Warriors in the first half Thursday night in Cleveland.
(Jason Miller / Getty Images)

LeBron James isn’t clutch.

Of all the criticisms that have shadowed the Kid from Akron — and they are legion — the tropes that he isn’t a killer, that he isn’t a closer, that he, in fact, needs a closer riding shotgun have been the most persistent. I’m not sure when this first became a thing, but I do know when it most recently became a thing again.

Earlier this week former Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving reignited this flat-earth-level conversation when he went on the podcast “Boardroom” and, in reference to his anticipated partnership with Kevin Durant, told Durant, the host: “I felt like I was the best option on every team I’ve played for down the stretch. This is the first time in my career where I can be like that motherf — can make that shot too.”

A healthy Irving is a top 20 player, and he can live forever off his status as the motherf — who clutch-gened the three-pointer in 2016 that helped deliver Cleveland its first championship in more than half a century. But empirical proof has never been Irving’s thing. As ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry pointed out, James hit 42% of clutch shots — defined as the last five minutes of game, with a score margin of five points or fewer— when he was teamed with Irving, whereas the Mouthy One shot 37% in clutch situations alongside James, including 27% from three as opposed to James’ 37% from downtown.

Imagine struggling to lead a team to a .400 record and still being comfortable taking a shot at a man, a former teammate, who has led a team to the NBA Finals in all but one of the years you’ve been in the league. Shall we continue?

Yes, let’s.



Lakers’ 2-0 series lead is no big deal to them

The Lakers' LeBron James grabs a rebound from the Heat's Kelly Olynyk in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Oct. 2, 2020.
The Lakers’ LeBron James grabs a rebound from the Heat’s Kelly Olynyk in Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Game 2 on Friday night.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Get to the NBA Finals as many times as LeBron James has and you’ve seen pretty much everything.

He has won a Finals series after going up 2-1, and he’s lost one. He’s won a Finals series after going down 2-1, and he’s lost one too. He’s been swept twice. He’s come back from a 3-1 deficit — which almost never happens.

So, being up 2-0 in this year’s series? He isn’t taking anything for granted. And neither is his team.

“It’s nothing to be excited about,” Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said after Friday night’s 124-114 victory over Miami. “We’re up 2-0. Teams come back every game. We’ve got to finish the job. We take it game by game. There’s nobody that’s excited in our locker room. I can tell you that right now.”

You might not believe it, but the Lakers insist.



Greatness is only thing Lakers’ dynamic duo shares with Kobe and Shaq

The Lakers' LeBron James, left, talks with Anthony Davis after the Game 2 win over the Miami Heat on Oct. 2, 2020.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

In the wake of the Lakers’ NBA Finals domination, it has become trendy to link the tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis to their celebrated predecessors Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.


Don’t compare them, don’t align them, and certainly don’t romanticize their connection.

The one and obvious similarity between the twosomes is that they both combined to lead the Lakers to greatness. Yet in every other way they are polar opposites, conducting their relationships in styles as different as AD’s sweet smile and Shaq’s sweaty scowl.

LeBron and AD are a dynamic duo. Kobe and Shaq were a dynamic duel.

LeBron and AD are tight. Kobe and Shaq were taut.

LeBron and AD genuinely like each other. Kobe and Shaq genuinely did not.

The comparisons between the two pairings came into colorful focus Friday night when, during the Lakers’ 124-114 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 2, LeBron and AD became the first Lakers pair to score at least 30 points apiece in an NBA Finals game since Kobe and Shaq did it in 2002.