The 2020 NBA Finals are a whole lot more exciting now than it was a week ago. The Los Angeles Lakers still lead the series 3-2, but we are on the heels of a classic Game 5 that could be talked about for years to come. Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat have regained a ton of momentum off of that win, and they can’t be any more pumped for more action.
What’s extra exciting for fans is both squads have their work cut out for them – this time with even greater pressure, which means we’ll likely see more hustle and urgency from the players.
Let’s now talk about the keys for the two teams.
Maintain Jimmy Butler’s momentum
Well, need we say more? He’s a man possessed right now. They need to ride that all the way through.
With that unstoppable Game 5 performance, Butler is basically in ‘God mode’ and his confidence should be through the roof. He also had a similarly impeccable showcase in Game 3, and has been averaging 29.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 10.2 assists, and 2.6 steals per game on 55.8% shooting in the series.
Trust the shooters
It’s the finals, so miscues and missed opportunities are on a way bigger magnitude. However, despite the ups and downs in the postseason, time and again, the Heat have always been saved by their masterful shooting when they need it the most. They have a handful of shooters, and they must remain trustful of each guy’s capabilities.
The Lakers have more threes than the Heat in this series (73 to 59), but there’s a reason we all value Miami’s shooters more.
Get more second chance opportunities
There are many underrated factors in winning a game, and at the top of the list is offensive rebounding. The Heat have had fewer offensive boards in each of the series’ last four games, and they still went 2-2 in that stretch, so who knows how better they’ll do if they rebound more.
With Miami having a regular small-ball line-up, outrebounding Anthony Davis and the Lakers are easier said than done. They may, however, like their chances tomorrow since Davis has an ailing knee.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
LeBron James tallied 40 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals on 15-for-21 shooting across roughly 42 minutes in Game 5. It was arguably his most complete game in a while and it’s also the second-most minutes he has logged all season.
Those were some serious minutes and all-out effort by James, and having a similar type of play is obviously needed. It will be intriguing to see if he’ll lay low or put fort another monster game.
Anthony Davis’s assertiveness and health
Davis has only averaged 13.3 shot attempts in the series’ last three games. It’s a significant drop-off from the 20.5 he had between Games 1 and 2. It’s been puzzling to see, and more concern will now revolve around his play since he re-aggravated his right heel injury in Game 5.
Defending the three and making the three
Containing the Heat’s three-point specialists is an absolute headache. They are all around the floor and run non-stop – running through screens will also sap your energy. But of course: no toughness, no championship.
On a key fourth quarter possession, Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got tangled up on defense for one second and Miami made them pay immediately.
Over on their own side, they themselves need to be more reliable. Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, and the rest of the wing shooters are mediocre-at-best in the series – the three are a combined 28-for-85 from three in the finals.