Jimmy Butler finally got some help

The Miami Heat reasserted themselves into the series against the Philadelphia 76ers after Jimmy Butler finally got a helping hand from his teammates, who had been useless on offense recently.

They started off with a 31-19 lead after the first quarter, and then maintained a lead in that area until they exploded in the fourth quarter to outscore the 76ers 39-19, with the game finishing 120-85 in their favour. After scoring a total of 73 points in Game 3 and Game 4, Butler was more than happy to finish Game 5 with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists along with a plus/minus of +36. 

Jimmy Butler was happy with the result, but believes that the Heat still need to focus on defense to succeed.

That was interesting to hear because this time around, because six of his teammates scored in double figures, and all 12 Heat players that saw game time scored a bucket. Max Strus was the second-leading scorer for the Heat with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and another standout was PJ Tucker who had 10 points, four rebounds, seven assists, a steal, and a block.

The Sixers looked shellshocked in the fourth quarter, and James Harden couldn’t muster the same heroics that he pulled off in the previous game. Harden finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists while shooting 5 of 13 from the field. Joel Embiid didn’t fare much better as he ended the game with 17 points and five rebounds. The rest of the Sixers didn’t fare much better, with Tobias Harris the only other one to score in double digits with 12 points and three rebounds.

Game 6 in Philadelphia should be interesting, because I don’t think the Sixers will go away quietly, but the Heat are looking really good right now.


The Suns made a big statement in a big blowout

The Mavericks were feeling pretty good heading into Game 5, and even got to a fast start in their quest to steal home court advantage in their series against the Phoenix Suns.

Luka Doncic and Devin Booker put on an entertaining duel against each other in the first quarter, with Doncic scoring 11 points, and Booker pouring in 12. However, the Suns slowly chipped away at the Mavericks and then closed out the second quarter with a 19-8 run that gave them a 49-46 lead at halftime.

Then, in a flash, the game was suddenly a blowout. The Suns eviscerated the Mavericks 33-14 in the third quarter behind strong team play and great scoring from Booker and DeAndre Ayton.

The lead was 82-60 at the start of the fourth quarter, and it certainly looked like the Suns were having a good time on the floor. Frustration even got the better of the Mavs, as Dorian Finney-Smith was called for a flagrant foul after hitting a driving Booker hard from behind. 

Frustration or not, there was precious little the Mavericks could do to chip into the lead in the fourth quarter. Luka Doncic finished the game with 28 points, 11 rebounds and three steals, while Jalen Brunson had 21 points and seven rebounds. Davis Bertans was the only other Maverick to score in double figures with 10 points, and Spencer Dinwiddie had a rough game again while finishing with two points while missing all three of his field goal attempts.

Booker led the Suns with 28 points and seven rebounds while shooting 11 of 20 overall. DeAndre Ayton finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Mikal Bridges had 14 points, seven rebounds and four steals to help remind everyone why he was a DPOY finalist this year. 

Chris Paul didn’t have a big scoring night but executed the offense masterfully as usual with seven points and 10 assists but had an uncharacteristic four turnovers. I thought he might have a big scoring night after fouling out in Game 4, but as usual, the Suns’s floor general was happy to just play winning basketball and not force anything.

Tempers flared at the end of the game, but the Suns’ arena security was on top of their game and stopped anything serious from happening. Both Marquese Chriss and Bismack Biyombo were ejected from the game with 2.3 seconds left.

The Suns are now one win away from a mouthwatering matchup with the Golden State Warriors. If the basketball gods are kind, we’ll get to see those two teams take each other on healthy.