Three Takeaways As Jimmy Butler Willed The Heat To Victory in Game 5 To Keep Their Season Alive

Friday night gave fans the wildest game of the NBA Finals so far as the Heat somehow managed to stave off elimination with a 111-108 victory in Game 5 to keep their season alive. It also gave us the LeBron-James vs. Jimmy Butler showdown we’ve been craving as the two superstars were absolutely sensational, going head-to-head on multiple possessions down the stretch to try and will their teams to victory.

Here’s what we learned from an absolute barn-burner of a game that came right down to the final seconds before the Heat were able to extend their season for at least one more game, which tips off on Sunday on ABC:

Jimmy Butler Is Not Ready To Go Home

We’re running out of superlatives to describe Butler’s performance on Friday night with his team on the ropes, as the Heat All-Star left positively everything out on the court in the biggest and most important performance of his career.

The final minutes of the fourth quarter were about as nail-biting as it gets, with LeBron and Butler going back and forth on several consecutive possessions and somehow coming up with gusty buckets when they needed them the most. It was a battle between two of the league’s toughest competitors, each of whom was running on fumes by the final buzzer.

Butler led Miami with 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists for his second triple-double of the Finals, and he was irrepressible late in the fourth quarter as he knocked down jumpers and bullied his way into the lane to help the Heat cling to a lead that was threatening to slip through their fingers down the stretch.

Butler looked completely drained by the end of it, and for his troubles, he’s earned himself the right to get up and do it all over again on Sunday as the Heat try to defy the odds and replicate a feat that only LeBron and his former Cavs team have done in all of NBA history.

LeBron Was On A Mission, Despite Coming Up Short

In case you didn’t notice, LeBron looked more than ready to put the finishing touches on his fourth championship and get out of the Orlando Bubble. He was on fire coming out the gate, going 3-of-4 from downtown on his way to a 21-point first half. And he didn’t let up in the second half.

LeBron was phenomenal in his quest to close out the series, finishing with 40 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals, along the way trading haymakers with Butler in crunch-time right up until the final moments.

And in perfect LeBron James fashion, he chose to make the right play at the end of the game, despite what many critics would have you believe, when he took the ball into the paint on the Lakers’ final possession, then kicked it out to an open Danny Green at the top of the key, who proceeded to miss a wide-open look.

Despite the outcome, LeBron would make that decision nine times out of ten, given the same situation, but now he and the Lakers have to turn their attention to Game 6, where they’ll have another chance to close out the Heat.

Duncan Robinson Had The Game Of His Life

Somewhat overshadowed in the melee of Game 5 was Duncan Robinson, who had the performance of his young career against the Lakers on Friday night, finishing with 26 points on 7-of-13 shooting from behind the arc and tying the Heat’s single-game playoff record for three-pointers.

And those threes came on timely possessions for Miami in the third and fourth quarter as they were clinging to a lead, one of them putting the Heat back on top 101-99 with under three minutes remaining. He even drew an offensive foul on LeBron late in the fourth quarter, putting his body on the line in front of a moving freight train to help secure the victory.

Now, Duncan and the Heat will somehow have to bring that same energy in Game 6 on Sunday if they want to make history and avoid a Lakers victory party.