ORLANDO – For Miami to knock off the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday near Orlando, the Heat need to be at the top of their game.
Heat forward Jimmy Butler said even that might not be enough.
“We’re going to have to play damn near perfect because they’re such a good team and they do so many things well,” Butler said after the Heat’s series-clinching 125-113 win Sunday over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
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“Obviously, you know the star power that they have. We’re not going to back down, though. … We’re going to lock into this film and we’re going to be ready to go. I think it will be some must-see TV.”
Bam Adebayo sparked Miami’s victory over Boston with 32 points and 14 rebounds. Butler scored 22 points and Tyler Herro added 19 for the Heat, who will be seeking their fourth NBA title.Embed from Getty Images
The Heat won their last one in 2013, when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh led them to the second of back-to-back titles by beating the San Antonio Spurs. Miami also captured the 2006 NBA crown over the Dallas Mavericks.
Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel said this year’s version of the Heat will be a handful. Like the Lakers, they are 12-3 in the playoffs.
“They have three All-Star-level players in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic,” Vogel said, according to the Miami Herald.
“When healthy, Dragic is an All-Star-level player. They (acquired) a Hall of Famer in Andre Iguodala.
“They have shooting, they have toughness. No surprise they’ve had such a successful postseason run. Very impressed with what they’ve been able to do beating three teams convincingly that if we played 82 games were on pace to win 50 games,” Vogel added.
James led the way with 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for his 27th triple-double of the postseason in Los Angeles’ 117-107 win over Denver in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
His performance helped put the Lakers in their first NBA Finals since 2010, when Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol lifted them past the Celtics in seven games for their 16th title. Boston has a league-best 17.Embed from Getty Images
James, who missed the playoffs last season in his first year with the Lakers, scored 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“(James) just took over,” said Anthony Davis, who contributed 27 points.
“He told us it was his time, told me it was his time and everybody just kind of got out of the way, just let him be him and he brought it home for us. He’s always capable of doing that. He makes the right plays, he makes the right reads.”
Davis said the goal this season was to get James back to the Finals and his fourth ring. James, Davis said, wants to get him his first.
“We don’t want to let each other down,” Davis said. “We know why I came here. We want to win a championship. We’re four wins away. A step closer to our goal.”
–Field Level Media