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Lakers beat Miami and caress the NBA title

Lakers beat Miami and caress the NBA title

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the front row, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat on Tuesday in a fierce duel 102-96 and took a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, just one title win .

After Sunday’s loss to the injury-weakened Heat, the Lakers conspired to put the series on track with LeBron James, who finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists, and Anthony Davis, with 22 points and 9. bounces.

Miami had back its pivot Bam Adebayo, one of its two sensitive casualties along with Goran Dragic, and he was always on the lookout on the scoreboard, but the Los Angeles stars finished in the final stretch with the help this time of some secondary ones like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (15 points and 3 triples).

“The work is not finished,” insisted James, emphasizing that he does not plan to rest until he has won his first ring with the Lakers and the fourth of his career at 35 years old.

“At this point in the season, I don’t mind resting, I don’t mind sleeping (…) Within a week, at the most, I will be able to rest,” said the forward, who has acknowledged that it is difficult for him to fall asleep in these Finals.

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Jimmy Butler, the hero of Sunday’s victory, finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, and Adebayo with 15 points and 7 rebounds for a team that does not lose the confidence to come back.

«We are going to respond (…) This team is made for challenges. We did not expect this to be easy, “said Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Heat, who reached the Finals by surprise after eliminating favorites like Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks.

Game 5 will be played on Friday at Disney World (Orlando) and the Lakers will have the opportunity to celebrate their 17th championship, with which they would equal the Boston Celtics record.

The Los Angeles team, which won 4-1 in its other three playoff qualifiers, has historical precedents on its side, which say that only one team was able to lift a 3-1 against in a Finals and led it precisely LeBron James: The 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors.

– LeBron and Davis decide –

The Heat entered Tuesday’s game with an injection of confidence by recovering their All-Star center Bam Adebayo, who underwent intense treatments for his neck strain in recent days.

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At the start, Jimmy Butler soon resumed his spectacular streak from the third game (40 points), adding 13 points at halftime with a great effectiveness (5/7 in shooting from the field).

The Lakers had their shooters Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green (10 and 2) on fire, criticized in these Finals, but the aggressive defense in Miami’s zone made it difficult again for their ball circulation, with LeBron James again registering excessive losses (5 at rest).

LeBron had a subdued first half with just 8 points (3/8 shooting), but after the break he hit the gas for another 20 points.

«One of the great games of my career» –

With two triples, one from long range, and several spectacular baskets, ‘King James’ was determined not to deliver another victory to Miami, as he had let his teammates know in text messages during the day.

“I felt that, for me, it was one of the great games of my career,” he said. “I wanted to send that message to my colleagues, about what kind of moment it was.”

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Before the end of the third quarter, the Lakers took a seven-point lead (71-64) amid signs of fatigue from Jimmy Butler, who had taken the team behind his back in the previous two games playing 45 minutes each.

In a risky maneuver, Davis, a 2.08m tall center, was in charge of marking Butler (2.01) and responded with a spectacular defensive performance, in which he added 1 steal and 4 blocks.

The last quarter was a high-tension duel with LeBron, who was discussing the entire game with the referees, facing Jae Crowder after receiving three hard fouls in a row.

Davis again scored a decisive triple with 40 seconds to go to sentence the Heat who, with Butler (43 minutes on the court) and Adebayo exhausted, lacked offensive weapons.

“There were some moments of truth, where it all came down to making plays, and they were the ones who made them,” Spoelstra acknowledged.

Miami will try to take advantage of the three days of rest until Friday to regain strength and try to recover Goran Dragic, the third best scorer on the team. AFP (HN).

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