LA Lakers on the verge of NBA title after six-point win over Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler was unable to replicate the heroics that lifted Miami to victory in their previous encounter as the Heat went down 102-96 to the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the NBA Finals.
The win puts the Lakers on the cusp of their first title in 10 years, while the Heat continue to sweat on the condition of injured point guard Goran Dragic as they bid to keep their championship hopes alive.
Miami did receive a boost prior to tip-off when injured forward Bam Adebayo was cleared to play.
His presence had a notable effect early as the Heat were able to keep pace with LA throughout a frantic first half.
Emerging from the break down just two, the game threatened to get away from Miami late in the third when a three from Anthony Davis put the Lakers up by seven.
But Miami’s shots started to fall, and it looked like another miraculous upset could be on the cards when a Butler basket tied the game with six minutes to go.
Unfortunately, he later missed a corner three which would have given the Heat the lead. Kentavius Caldwell-Pope then drained one at the other end to put the Lakers up 93-88.
The quick turnaround ultimately proved to be enough of a buffer for LA to get over the line and clinch the 3-1 series lead.
Davis and LeBron James combined for 50 points for LA, while Butler posted 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to finish just shy of another triple-double.