The Miami Heat have kept the NBA Finals series alive, beating Los Angeles Lakers 111-108 in game five to deny their opponents the NBA title.
- The Miami Heat trail Los Angeles Lakers 3-2 in the NBA Finals series but remain in the hunt after winning game five in Florida
- Jimmy Butler was the star for Miami with a triple-double (35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists) while LeBron James scored 40 points for the Lakers
- Game six of the finals series will be held on Monday morning (AEDT), with game seven on Wednesday if required
The Lakers were aiming to clinch the series and secure a record-equalling 17th NBA title to match the Boston Celtics.
However, after trailing for much of the game, Los Angeles hit the front with six minutes 20 seconds to go in the final quarter, before the Heat held their nerve to wrestle the game back.
Miami took the lead for good on a free throw from Jimmy Butler with 16.8 seconds left, then a missed three-point shot from Los Angeles guard Danny Green followed by a Lakers turnover forced the trailing team to foul to stop the clock.
Tyler Herro drained both free throws before a last, desperate three-point shot from LeBron James missed.
James finished with 40 points, including 6 for 9 from three-point range. His teammate Anthony Davis scored 28.
But the key player for Miami was Jimmy Butler, who had a triple-double with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
It was a tight first quarter, with the Heat on top early, then the Lakers hit back to lead 18-13, before Miami steadied to take a one-point lead after the opening term.
The Heat put the pressure on in the second quarter, forcing Lakers turnovers and bouncing out to lead 41-33.
James stopped the momentum with two three-pointers for Los Angeles, but the Heat regained the momentum to extend the margin to 11. However, the Lakers came again in the closing stages to trail 60-56 at the half.
The third quarter was a shootout, with both teams going for it from beyond the arc.
The Lakers’ physical defence got them into some trouble — Dwight Howard was called for a flagrant foul for thumping Butler across the top of the head, while Miami’s Jae Crowder and Duncan Robinson both converted four-point plays after they were fouled while shooting three-pointers.
Miami led 88-82 with a quarter to go.
The final quarter saw the Heat quickly extend their lead to 11 before James began the fightback with another three-point play. The Lakers raised the pressure on the Heat, with Green and James scoring key baskets before Kentavio Caldwell-Pope’s three-point shot put Los Angeles ahead.
Robinson ended the night with seven three-pointers for the Heat.
Game six of the series will be played on Monday morning (AEDT), with game seven on Wednesday if needed.