Butler, Heat fend off Lakers, send Finals to Game 6

Jimmy Butler had 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and five steals, and the Miami Heat avoided elimination with a 111-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Friday near Orlando.

Duncan Robinson had 26 points, helping the Heat close their deficit in the best-of-seven series to 3-2. Kendrick Nunn chipped in 14 points, Bam Adebayo contributed 13 and Tyler Herro had 12 points and Jae Crowder scored 11.

LeBron James amassed 40 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals for the Lakers. Anthony Davis finished with 28 points, 12 boards and three blocks, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 16 points.

Game 6 is set for Sunday, and Game 7, if necessary, would be played Tuesday.

Two free throws by James with 2:52 remaining tied the score at 101. Butler’s jumper put Miami up by two, but James’ three-point play with 1:34 left gave the Lakers a one-point lead.

Butler scored again for a one-point Heat advantage with 1:13 to go, but James’ bucket allowed the Lakers take a 106-105 lead with 58.2 seconds left.

Two foul shots by Butler gave Miami a 107-106 lead with 46.7 seconds remaining, but Los Angeles grabbed a 108-107 edge with 21.8 seconds left on a put-back by Davis.

Butler made two free throws with 16.8 seconds left, giving Miami the lead for good. Danny Green misfired on a 3-pointer, but Los Angeles retained possession until Markieff Morris’ turnover gave the ball back to Miami.

Herro’s two fouls shots with 1.6 seconds put the Heat up by three, and James’ desperation heave at the buzzer was off the mark.

The Heat led 88-82 heading into the fourth quarter.

An 11-3 run to open the second gave Miami a 36-27 advantage after a jumper by Nunn less than three minutes into the quarter. The Heat went up 50-39 after another Nunn bucket, but the Lakers rallied with an 8-0 surge to cut the margin to three after a layup by Kuzma with 2:04 left in the quarter.

Butler’s 22 first-half points lifted the Heat to a 60-56 lead at the break. James had 21 points at the break.

The Lakers got a scare when Davis went down with a right heel injury with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. However, he returned in the second quarter.

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