When the Lakers and Heat tipped off Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Friday, several fans and league observers were prepared to crown the Lakers with their 17th championship in franchise history. Fast forward to today, and the Heat are now one win away from being one win away.
Miami will try to tie the series in Game 6 on Sunday night, with a potential Game 7 hanging in the balance on Tuesday. It’s a challenging feat for a club likely to be missing Goran Dragic (listed doubtful with a plantar fascia tear), but the Heat have embraced the identity of a team known for overcoming obstacles. They were propelled by Jimmy Butler in Game 5, who finished with an astounding 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and five steals in over 47 minutes of action.
“Nothing,” Butler said of what he had left once the game ended, as relayed by Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.“I left it all out there on the floor along with my guys, and that’s how we’re going to have to play from here on out. Like I always say, it’s win or win for us. But this is the position that we’re in. We like it this way. We got two more in a row to get.”
For the Lakers, their fate could rest on the level of production they receive from players outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. If the supporting cast goes down, the team could very well go down with it. Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso and Markieff Morris have all shown signs of promise off the bench this series, but no game has been more important than this.
Davis is listed as probable with a right heel contusion, while Miami’s Bam Adebayo has continued to play through a neck strain. Other players remain mentally and physically fatigued, but the NBA’s longest season to date will ultimately come to a close on Sunday or Tuesday.
What do you think? What will be the outcome of the NBA Finals? Do the Heat have enough left in the tank to force a Game 7 and potentially come back from a 3-1 deficit, or will the Lakers take control and finish the series in Game 6 or Game 7? Vote in our poll, then take to the comments section below!