By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat are focused on Game 4 and tying the NBA Finals best-of-seven series, 2-2. Personal achievements the likes of posting the third-ever 40-point triple-double in Finals history failed to bump Butler off that target.
“We won. I could care less about a triple-double,” he mentioned after Sunday’s Game 3 victory, “I have so much confidence in the group of guys and coach Spo. It’s so fun to play with these guys.”
Apart from the 40-point, 13-assist, 11-rebound triple-double itself, the 31-year-old American swingman took over down the stretch putting an emphatic stop on the Los Angeles Lakers hopes for a comeback win.
“This is what he wanted, this is what we wanted,” said Erik Spoelstra, “It’s really hard to analyze or describe Jimmy until you actually feel him between the four lines. He’s a supreme, elite competitor and we needed it.”
His monster game prevented the Lakers from extending their lead to 3-0. LeBron James praised his determination.
“He’s one of the best competitors we have in our game,” stated the Lakers leader, “Love that opportunity. For me, personally, I don’t know how many more opportunities I’m going to have so to be able to go against a fierce competitor like that is something I’ll look back on when I’m done playing. I’ll miss those moments.”
“He set the offensive tone of the game. He was able to control the game. He made plays for himself and others,” added teammate Jae Crowder, “He’s always been the type of guy you can depend on. Whatever you need him to do, he’s capable of doing it.”
Another key part of Game 3 was early foul trouble for Anthony Davis. “It definitely had an impact,” he admitted, “We still had to find better ways to affect the game on both sides of the floor.”
Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo remaining on the injury list rallied the Heat around Butler. A team effort highlighted by the Marquette alum kept the series interesting.
“I know how resilient that bunch is and how resilient that coaching staff is and their franchise,” pointed out James, “Also, I don’t feel like we’re concerned. We’re not concerned. We know we can play a lot better. We have another opportunity to take a commanding lead on Tuesday.”
Crowder, part of a five-player double-digit scoring pack commented on pulling one back without Dragic and Adebayo. “We had players step up this whole playoffs, and it’s no different now for us with two of our main guys out,” he claimed.
Game 4 is scheduled to be played Tuesday night in the Orlando bubble. The series will continue via Game 5 Friday.
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