NBA Finals: Butler Carries Heat to Game 3 Win Over Lakers
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jimmy Butler's 40-point triple-double on Sunday pushed the injury-ridden Miami Heat to a 115-104 win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, avoiding a 3-0 series death knell.
For 45 minutes, Butler slashed to the basket and jockeyed with Lakers defenders for offensive rebounds on his way to finishing with 40 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists. His stat line put him in esteemed company: Butler was just the third player in Finals history to have a 40-point triple-double, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information, joining Jerry West and LeBron James.
Butler also became the first player to score 40 points without attempting a 3-pointer since Shaquille O'Neal in 2002.
After the Heat rushed out to a double-digit lead early in the first quarter, the Lakers answered with a run of their own. It was then, Butler said, that James squawked at him: "You're in trouble."
The win does give the Heat some extra time to potentially get Goran Dragic, who missed the past two games with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot, and Bam Adebayo -- who missed the same two games with a strained neck -- back on the floor.
The NBA Finals continue Tuesday, October 6 here on ESPN 99.1.