The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t really show up last night, an occurrence that has seemingly happened at least once in each of their four playoff rounds so far. The Miami Heat — without Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic — took advantage behind an arguably historic performance from Jimmy Butler who willed his team to victory with a 40 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assist stat line. Butler was feeling himself throughout the contest, with the Heat’s offense in the final five minutes essentially revolving around him getting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or anyone else smaller switched onto him so he could go to work. It definitely worked, with the Heat winning 115-104 in the end.
At one point during the ending moments of the game, Butler was seemingly screaming “they’re in trouble” about the Lakers while heading to the Heat’s huddle in a timeout. The moment is below.
Lakers fans were quick to note the video, as it is obviously a pretty bold statement to make when your team is still down 2-1 in the NBA Finals against LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It appears, though, that Butler was just having some fun by bringing back a statement that LeBron apparently made in the first half (reported by Chris Miles of NBA TV).
Jimmy just said LeBron told him the Heat were in trouble in the first half—- he was just repeating what LeBron said to him
— Chris Miles (@chrismilestv) October 5, 2020
LeBron James saying this around/to Butler may have inspired the following tweet from The Athletic’s Sam Amick as he noticed some jawing going on around the 1st quarter. Dave McMenamin of ESPN also noticed it.
Jimmy Butler and LeBron James exchange a few heated words at the end of the first quarter, and a clapping, laughing JR Smith was loving it. All in all, Lakers should be ecstatic to be down just three (26-23) after a terrible first quarter (10 turnovers, four apiece for AD & LBJ)
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) October 5, 2020
Whatever LeBron was chirping after the Lakers ended the quarter with a play to get Kuzma a 3 at the buzzer left Jimmy Butler staring at him and saying, "Bro … bro …"
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 5, 2020
As said previously, Jimmy Butler had a monster triple-double while also becoming the first player to outscore, outrebound, and out-assist LeBron James in any of the million NBA Finals games he’s played (per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated/ESPN). Butler couldn’t care less about the triple-double though, saying the following afterward (reported by Ryan Ward of Clutch Points):
“We won. I could care less about a triple-double. We play this game to win. I’m glad my teammates got a lot of trust and faith in me to go out there and hoop like that, but like I always say, you guarantee me a win, I could care less.”
Butler is no joke. The Lakers would be wise to come out strong in game four and put an end to this momentum that he and the Heat have.