LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – With less than 10 seconds left and the Los Angeles Lakers behind on a Friday, LeBron James looked to be putting the finishing touches on a 40-point masterpiece to clinch his fourth NBA title. Covered by the Miami Heat’s seemingly entire defense, James, who led the league in assists for the first time in his career this season, landed a pass to a Danny Green at the top of the key.
Green, a two-time champion and 40% career 3-point shooter whose nickname is “Deadshot” due to his reputation as a sharpshooter, was hired by LA on the last offseason for moments like this: sweeping the floor and take advantage of James’ ability to create shots.
Green let him fly defenseless within 8 feet of him, according to Second Spectrum data. The ball snapped from the front edge with 7.1
“I mean, if you just watch the game, I was able to draw two defenders under the free throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for an open 3 to win a championship,” James said after finishing. with an eye-catching 15 by 21 line of sight, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. “I trusted him, we trusted him, and it just didn’t work out.
“Live with that. Live with that. It’s one of the best shots we could have gotten. … Danny had a hell of a look. He just didn’t go down. I know he wishes he could have it again.”
Lakers manager Frank Vogel said James was “ready to face [Miami’s] the whole team, “but” made the right play “.
“Danny is one of our best shooters, he looked great and we live with the results,” he said.
Vogel accepted minus two fouls called against his defending team Jimmy Butler in the last minute who helped the Heat close the game and extend the series. One of the fouls was called against Markieff Morris with 46.7 seconds left, and another was against Anthony Davis with 16.8 seconds left.
“I heard two bad calls at the end that put Butler in line, you know, and that’s a shame in a game of this magnitude,” Vogel said. “Anthony Davis has perfect verticality, he should be a play-on. And the time before, Markieff Morris has his hands on the ball – he should be a play-on. He was given four free throws and made a battle climb for us. . Very disappointed with this aspect of the game. “
THERE. he was not at the top of his game, losing to 11 in the second quarter before equalizing in the third quarter, only to drop 11 again with 10:31 in the fourth.
The first half hole in which the Lakers found themselves occurred mainly with Davis on the bench after aggravating a bruise on his right heel, suffered in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, when he came into contact with Andre Iguodala at the end of the first quarter.
Davis, who still managed to score 28 points on a 9-for-15 shot with 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks in 42 minutes, expressed confidence when asked about his injury predictions for Game 6.
“I’ll be fine on Sunday,” he said.
A source familiar with Davis’ injury described the bruise to ESPN as “painful” but said he “can tolerate it.”
The question is how the Lakers ‘determination will handle the Heat – winners of two of the series’ last three games after L.A.’s 2-0 start. – now that they have missed a closing opportunity.
James, who arrived on Friday with a 3-0 final game record in his career in the Finals, was on the other end of a 3-1 streak in 2016 when he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a historic comeback against the Golden State Warriors.
Now it’s up to him to stop Miami from doing the same with his team.
“At the end of the day, you don’t predetermine anything, just take the game as it’s going and play,” James said. “You play every quarter, you play every possession and you live with the results. You don’t think about what might happen at the end of the game and things like that. You don’t get caught up in the consequences.”
“You have to live in the moment and prepare for every possession because if you start wandering and your mind starts to go, you make a mistake. One thing about this team we’re playing, they make you pay for every mistake. It’s the same as when I was playing against the Golden State all those years: you’re wrong, they make you pay. So we have to understand. “