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LeBron James gives his all, but Lakers can’t finish Jimmy Butler and Heat in Game 5

Lakers forward LeBron James is fouled by Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler while driving to the basket.
Lakers forward LeBron James is fouled by Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler while driving to the basket during the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 111-108 loss in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Friday.
(Wally Skalij/ Los Angeles Times)

The Miami Heat would not allow the coronation.

They’d seen the preparations underway for a championship celebration, the Mamba uniforms the Lakers never had lost in while wearing, the gold shoes on Anthony Davis’ feet — gold like the trophy he thought he’d be hoisting later Friday night.

Not if Jimmy Butler had anything to say about it. Nor his teammate Duncan Robinson, whom the Lakers couldn’t stop from making threes, even by fouling him.

The Heat won Game 5 of the NBA Finals 111-108, despite 40 points from LeBron James, and delayed the Lakers’ hopes for a 17th championship. The longest season in the history of the NBA will last at least two more days. Game 6 will be Sunday evening, with the Lakers’ lead now trimmed to 3-2.

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“It’s basketball; it’s the Finals,” Davis said. “They wanted to win as bad as we wanted to win. We’ve gotta take it on Sunday.”

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler shows his talent and grit as he wills his team to a 111-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Butler scored 35 points, 22 in the first half, and notched his second triple-double of the Finals, with 12 rebounds, 11 assists and five steals. He joined James as the only players with multiple triple-doubles in an NBA Finals. James finished shy of one for the fifth time this series with 13 rebounds and seven assists, while Davis scored 28 points with 12 rebounds.

“You live in the moment, you try to make plays for your team to be successful on both ends,” James said of his late-game battle with Butler. “We were both trying to do that. Trying to will our teams to a victory. He was able to make one more play than I was able to tonight and come away with the victory.”

Butler got the help he needed from Robinson, who scored 26 points, making seven three-pointers, including a four-point play late in the third quarter when Kyle Kuzma fouled him.

The Lakers lost their first chance to clinch the franchise’s 17th NBA championship with a 111-108 oss to the Miami Heat on Friday night in Orlando, Fla.

“One thing about this team that we’re playing, they make you pay for every mistake,” James said. “Same as when I was playing against Golden State all those years. … We have to understand that.”

Late in the first quarter, Davis suffered a scare with 48 seconds left. Miami’s Andre Iguodala kicked him in the right heel, aggravating a contusion he suffered in the conference finals. Davis lay on the floor for several minutes while teammates surrounded him on the baseline. Although he never went to the locker room for treatment, Davis did leave the game, and his team started the second quarter without him as he worked to shake out the injury.
Miami capitalized and built an 11-point lead.

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By halftime the Lakers had closed the gap to 60-56. James carried them with 21 points on nine-for-11 shooting and made three of four three-pointers.

The Lakers squandered a prime opportunity to put away the Miami Heat and secure the NBA title in Game 5. Is an NBA Finals nightmare brewing for Lakers?

The Lakers took the lead in the fourth quarter on a three-pointer by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, sending their family section into a frenzy. But as expected, the Heat didn’t fold. Davis gave the Lakers a one-point lead with 21.8 seconds left but was called for a foul on Butler seconds later, which allowed Miami to take back the lead. Coach Frank Vogel called it a bad call and James called it questionable.

With 16.8 seconds left, James drove into the paint and the Heat collapsed around him — specifically Butler and Robinson.

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“He was ready to take on the whole team,” Vogel said. “He had two guys on him. A third defender came … With three guys on you, you make the right play.”

James’ gravitational pull got Danny Green open at the top of the arc, not a defender in sight, and James passed to him. Green missed an open three-point try with 7.1 seconds remaining. The Lakers got the rebound, but Markieff Morris turned the ball over with 2.2 seconds left, all but ensuring this game would go to the Heat.

Photos from Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Miami Heat in Orlando, Fla. The Miami Heat won the game, 111-108.

“I was able to draw two defenders below the free-throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for a wide-open three to win a championship,” James said. “I trusted him. We trusted him. And it just didn’t go. You live with that. … Danny had a hell of a look. It just didn’t go down. I know he wishes he could have it again. I wish I could make a better pass. You just live with it.”

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Said Vogel: “We’ll definitely bounce back. No question about that.”


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