Getty Images/ Ringer sketch

The Heat needed everything from their hotshot( and then some) to overcome one of the best Finals operations ever from LeBron James. They got it. And there will be a Game 6.

This was it: the moment when the impressive would ultimately give way to the inevitable.

Jimmy Butler had been brilliant through the first 3 and a half districts of Game 5, putting up his second triple-double of the 2020 NBA Finals to keep the Lakers at arm’s length. But he’d gotten time 48 seconds of rest in that cover, with Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra chipping his rotation to the bone and bending hard on his superstar to give Miami its best probability of averting off elimination. Butler hadn’t orchestrated since Dwight Howard cleaned him out with a flagrant-1 on a putback midway through the third. On a pull-up 3-point assault with simply under seven times to go, it looked like his legs had deserted him; on a costly turnover in transition shortly thereafter that have contributed to a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope runout dunk, it seemed like his focus had, too.

That dunk capped a 14 -3 L.A. moved that apply the Lakers up 99 -9 6 with 5:32 to go. After everything he’d done, and he’d done everything, Butler was on the wrong side of the scoreboard and gazing down the barrel of LeBron James in a closeout recreation; this was the Heat’s season, slipping away, unless Jimmy could find a put or two of gas in his tank to thump the accelerator again.

Which, naturally, is exactly what he did.

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