Miami Heat Upset Lakers In Game 3 Of The NBA Finals, 115-104

After a somewhat dormant first two games, the Heat pulled off an improbable 115-104 win over the Lakers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday without two of their starters, Bam Adebayo (neck) and Goran Dragic (foot).
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Jimmy Butler talked trash. Tyler Herro snarled. 

The Heat are back.

After a somewhat dormant first two games, the Heat pulled off an improbable 115-104 win over the Lakers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday without two of their starters, Bam Adebayo (strained neck) and Goran Dragic (torn plantar fascia in his left foot).

It was the shot to the arm that the Heat needed to keep their championship hopes alive. 

"I think we realized that we belong," Butler said in a walk-off interview with ABC. "They can be beat."

The Heat were nine-point underdogs, making Sunday's win the second-largest upset in the NBA Finals in the last 30 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Info. 

The Lakers felt that weight.

With about 10 seconds left, LeBron James walked off the court before the final buzzer sounded. When asked if he did that out of frustration or because he erroneously thought the game was over early, he was honest.

"Both," James said. 

The Heat twice had commanding advantages that the Lakers erased, leading by as much as 13 points in the first quarter and 16 points in the third quarter. They entered the fourth quarter up five points, 85-80. 

With 9:11 left, Markieff Morris made a 26-foot three-pointer to tie the score at 89-89. But the Heat quickly regained control, pushing their lead back up to as much as 13 points.  

The Lakers had 20 turnovers, 10 of which they committed in the first quarter, and were outscored in points in the paint, 52-34.

James attributed the loss to a combination of poor effort and execution. 

"We had some careless turnovers," said James, who had a very uncharacteristic eight turnovers, including four in the fourth quarter. "It starts with me, like I said, and I take full responsibility for that. I'll be a lot better on Tuesday with that understanding that they are very good with their hands. They are very good with the stripping. You can't allow this team to have extra possessions. You can't turn the ball over at that high a rate, especially at this point in the season."

Butler, who is playing through a left ankle injury he sustained in Game 1, took advantage of the Lakers' sluggishness, dazzling with a spectacular 40-point, 11-rebound and 13-assist performance in 44 minutes. 

James called him "phenomenal," adding that at 35 years old, he truly appreciates going against a player with so much heart. 

"One of the best competitors we have in our game," James said. "We love that opportunity [to play each other]. 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."

James led the Lakers with 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Kyle Kuzma and Morris each added 19 points. 

Anthony Davis, who averaged 33 points and 11.5 rebounds in the first two games of the series, had a quiet 15 points and five rebounds in 33 minutes on Sunday. 

Davis acknowledged he was off kilter after picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter and another one midway through the second.   

"It takes away the aggressiveness on both ends of the floor that I'm used to playing with," said Davis, who didn't even attempt a shot in the first quarter. "And those guys like to take charges or whatever and, you know, 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."

The Lakers have a 2-1 series lead against a Heat team that now believes in themselves. 

But the Lakers' confidence remains unflappable.  

"We're not concerned," James said. "We know we can play a lot better. We have another opportunity to take a commanding lead on Tuesday. You relish that opportunity."