The Los Angeles Lakers had a chance to take control of the NBA Finals in Game 3 on Sunday night but squandered the opportunity with a lackluster performance in a 115-104 loss to the Miami Heat.
The Lakers got off to a slow start and were never quite able to recover or slow Jimmy Butler, resulting in their series lead dropping to 2-1. Anthony Davis was unstoppable in the first two games of the series but had one of his worst nights of the postseason in Game 3 after getting in early foul trouble.
Davis was limited to just 15 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals. He also had five turnovers and was tied for a game-worst minus-26. “It had an impact,” Davis said of getting into early foul trouble.
“Picked up two early, come in and get the third. So it takes away the aggressiveness on both ends of the floor that I’m used to playing with. Those guys like to take charges, try to draw offensive fouls. It took away the aggressiveness a little bit.
“Still got to be better and still got to find ways to affect the game on both ends of the floor, but it definitely took me out and put a little bit too much pressure on the other guys.”
While Davis was thrown off rhythm in a subpar performance, he’s confident moving forward. “I’ll be fine. I just have to be better both ends of the floor,” he said.
“The team relies on me bringing the energy to start the game and when you pick up two fouls, guys come in earlier, things like that. So I just have to be better.”
The Lakers have dropped a game in every series they have played which has helped them re-focus, so it certainly is not time to panic. “We’re still up in the series,” Davis said.
“We never want to get too high and we don’t want to get too low. We’ll look at the film and see where I can be better on both ends, see where we can be better as a team, come out Game 4 much better than we played tonight.”
The Heat may be short-handed, but they aren’t a team that is going to quit, so Davis, LeBron James and the Lakers will have to be better in Game 4.
Butler gets going for Heat
In addition to Davis’ foul trouble, one of the biggest reasons for the Lakers’ loss was their inability to contain Butler. The Heat star had an all-time NBA Finals performance, scoring 40 points with 11 rebounds and 13 assists on 14-of-20 shooting.
With the potential return of both Bam Adebayo and Gordan Dragic in Game 4, Miami suddenly has life and will look to even the series at two games apiece on Tuesday night.
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