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NBA Finals Game 5: Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers (Saturday 02:00 BST)
The Los Angeles Lakers can clinch the NBA Championship on Friday night after they made a return to winning ways in Game 4. The Lakers were stunned in Game 3 when Jimmy Butler inspired a short-handed Miami Heat side to victory to get them back into the series, but LA’s response was a strong one as Anthony Davis once again put a hurting on the Heat.
Miami have had nightmares trying to contain Davis this season and while his statistics may not have lived up to previous efforts against the Heat, his ‘dagger’ three-pointer proved to be the decisive moment in a 102-96 win for Los Angeles that has put them within one win of the championship. Prior to the start of the series I backed Davis to be the NBA Finals MVP and he may have just taken another giants stride towards that honour on Tuesday night.
So, can the Lakers wrap things up in Game 5 on Friday night? I always fancied the scrappy Heat to at least take a game off LA in this series and they did just that, but I was also confident that the Lakers would respond well to the setback to regain a two-game cushion in this best-of-seven series. That confidence resulted in a 3/1 winning bet on Tuesday night’s clash and I am backing LA to deliver another winning bet for me in Game 5 as they clinch the series and pay the ultimate tribute to late Lakers great, Kobe Bryant.
Miami are not going to go down quietly. Their run to the NBA Finals has been built on strong defense, a resilient team spirit and some outstanding play from star man Jimmy Butler, and I expect the former Chicago Bull and Philadelphia 76er to keep his team in Game 5 with another stirring display here. They are going to need him to shine with Bam Adebayo not 100%. The problem is Butler cannot always do it on his own and this Lakers group can now taste that title. LeBron James will take his game to the next level and Davis will once again prove to be tough to handle for Miami. This will result in Los Angeles winning a close game and lifting the trophy on Friday night.