We are a few hours away from Game 6 of the NBA finals and the Miami Heat are currently trailing the Lakers 3-2. The Los Angeles Lakers are the favourites to win the championship and they would motivated to win it as a way of honouring the tragic demise of the legendary Kobe Bryant.
In Lebron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers have built a team around their two superstars that is a game away from winning the title.
Lebron James has continually defied father time and expectations yet again by turning up epic performances for his team. If not for a bad miss by Danny Green on a 3pt attempt in the closing seconds of Game 5, the 40 pts performance by Lebron in Game 5 should have been enough to give the Lakers the title. Anthony Davis on the other hand has overcome various injury issues during these series to put the Lakers on the brink of a championship.
With the imperious performance of Lebron and Anthony Davis during this series, it is obvious the odds are clearly stacked against the Heat. However there are some reasons why Miami Heat will feel Jimmy Butler can lead them to a championship.
1) The Heat don’t give excuses :
The Heat were without the services of Bam Adebayo for two games and Goran Dragic has missed four games, yet the Miami Heat have found ways to win 2 games without their key players. Most teams will crumble if they miss one player, the Heat have missed 2 players at different points in this series and they are still hanging in there.
Unlike the Lakers who are over reliant on Lebron and Anthony Davis, different players take turns in leading the Heat in points as we have since from the likes of Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson who no one fancied at different point during the playoffs.
2) Miami is used to being underrated:
Miami Heat have continually defied expectations throughout the playoffs. They defeated the Pacers, Bucks and Celtics when nobody expected them to scale through those matches and they have shown their ability to handle pressure by winning close matches at numerous times during these playoffs.
While they lack the big names or the star power that other teams have, each player that steps on the floor for the Miami Heat give their all on the court as that is the only thing that has gotten them this far in the playoffs.
3) Jimmy Butler is an unselfish leader:
Prior to Butler joining the Heat, the narrative about him was that he was a bad team mate and a cancer to any team he joins. In Miami Heat, Butler has found a team filled with players that match his hunger, tenacity and desire to win. He is a perfect fit to the culture and Eric Spoelstra has built a team that is not driven by huge egos or distracted by irrelevant banter.
Butler doesn’t complain aggressively or whine to the refs, he leads the team and creates opportunity for his team mates to excel with his unselfish play.
It also helps the team that the younger players such as Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro see Butler as a leader and respect him unlike his time with the Timberwolves when he and Karl Anthony Towns beef had a toxic effect on the team.
He is aware of his limitations and doesn’t try to do everything on his own, he doesn’t take numerous 3pt shots because he is not a great shooter like Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson, or try to pad his stats like Russell Westbrook. Butler is focused on winning more than individual accolades and that is why he does a mixture of things offensively and defensively to help his team win the game such as dishing out assists, chasing after loose balls, draining clutch free throws as well as guarding Lebron and Anthony Davis when necessary.
He also benefits from the fact that he is in great physical shape and rarely gets injured. Butler rested for only 48 secs in Game 5 and his performance level did not drop during the game as a result of fatigue.
What he lacks in talents and physique, he makes up for it with his tenacity, durability and excellent decision making skills.
So what will happen in Game 6
Will the Lakers win the game and end up as the champions or will the Heat win the game and force a Game 7?