LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat weren’t ready to let the bubble deflate.
After nearly 93 days on the NBA’s campus at Disney World, what’s a few more at this point?
Butler once again delivered a sensational performance — another triple-double — as the Heat defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 111-108 in Game 5 on Friday, keeping their season alive for at least one more game.
Butler’s two free throws with 16.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter put the Heat ahead 109-108. A wide open 3-point attempt by Los Angeles’ Danny Green fell short with 7.1 seconds left, and Markieff Morris committed a turnover with 2.2 seconds to go. Miami’s Tyler Herro made free throws, and failed 3-point attempt by LeBron James at the buzzer resulted in a Heat victory.
The Lakers have a 3-2 series lead, and Game 6 is Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC).
“We’re trying to compete for a title,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game. “We never expected it to be easy. We have an extremely competitive group in our locker room. And we’re looking forward to this challenge. The Lakers are challenging us in a different way than we’ve faced so far in all the playoffs. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. And you have to compete for it. You have to fight for it.”
Almost duplicating his 40-point triple-double from Game 3, Butler had 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists — 22 points, six rebounds and six assists coming in the first half. He also added five steals.
The Heat were fantastic on 3-pointers (42.4%), and they came from players who had struggled in the Finals. Duncan Robinson entered the game shooting 30.8% on 3s, but he shot 7-for-13 in Game 5 and had 26 points. Kendrick Nunn, who was 2-for-11 in Game 4, pitched in 14 points off the bench, and all five Heat starters were in double figures.
It was an impressive win, considering the Heat are without starting guard Goran Dragic, who has a torn plantar fascia in his left foot.
The Lakers took a 99-96 lead with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter and sensed a championship. But Robinson’s 3-pointer with 3:16 left put the Heat ahead 101-99. The Heat didn’t falter.
James and Butler put on a show.
In the first half, James had 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting and kept the Lakers close with 3-pointers. Late in the second half, he went to his power game, driving for a his three-point play with 1:34 remaining to put the Lakers up 104-103. His putback after an offensive rebound gave the Lakers a 106-105 lead with 46.7 seconds to go.
The Heat won the game at the free throw line. They didn’t miss in seven attempts in the fourth quarter and were 21-for-22 for the game.
James finished with 40 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, and Anthony Davis had 28 points and 12 rebounds.
Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.