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NBA Finals 2020

NBA Finals 2020: Five plays from Game 4 that will haunt the Miami Heat

Game 4 of the 2020 NBA Finals could've gone in either direction.

While the Los Angeles Lakers led for the majority of the game, the Miami Heat had several opportunities down the stretch to either tie it up or take the lead. It was similar to Game 3, only this time it was the Lakers who came up with the biggest plays of the game, not the Heat.

"Look, this was in the balance," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game. "There were some moments of truth and it came down to making plays.

"We made a lot more plays at the end of last game, they made their plays tonight. Made some big shots, Pope hit the big one obviously and Davis hit the one that basically sealed it. LeBron obviously put his fingerprints on that down the stretch. They had a handful of offensive rebounds, second-chance opportunities where we really defended well and got the stop and they were able to get another opportunity from that.

"But this was a grind-out, throwback game. Both teams were competing with great force. It's not like anybody was giving up any quarter on either side, and you just have to make some plays down the end. I don't think we didn't make plays, I just think they just made more plays and more shots to seal it."

There were five plays in particular that the Heat wish they could have back.

Bam Adebayo's loose ball foul

In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Adebayo committed a loose ball foul on Anthony Davis. With the Heat being in the bonus, it resulted in two free throws for Davis, a career 80.2 percent free-throw shooter.

Davis knocked them both down to extend the Lakers' lead to five points entering the fourth quarter, making it a two-possession game.

Rajon Rondo's clutch board

One thing that LeBron James likes to do is have guards set screens for him in pick-and-rolls in an effort to get the opposing team's weakest perimeter defender switched onto him.

Halfway through the fourth quarter of a three-point game, James called for a screen from Rondo in an attempt to get Tyler Herro switched onto him. The Heat sniffed it out and switched Jae Crowder onto Rondo before he could set the screen, leading to James settling for a deep 3-pointer.

The Heat got James to take the shot he wanted but were unable to close out the possession. Not only did Rondo come up with an offensive rebound...

...the ball eventually found its way to James underneath the rim. Crowder fouled James on a layup attempt and he converted both free throws to make it a five-point game.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's clutch board

Less than a minute later, Rondo had a hand in another offensive rebound for the Lakers - off of another missed 3-pointer from James, no less - although this time Caldwell-Pope was credited for it.

The end result was similar, with the ball eventually ending up in the hands of James and him getting fouled by Crowder, earning him two more free throws that he made to extend the lead back to five points.

The Lakers finished Game 4 with 10 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points.

The six-point swing

Down by two points with just over three minutes to play, Jimmy Butler missed a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner.

Butler was one of the worst 3-point shooters in the league during the regular season, but he's been solid in the playoffs, attempting 2.0 3-pointers per game and knocking them down at a 34.2 percent clip. It's not a shot he takes often, but it's one he can make.

James turned Butler's miss into a 3-pointer for Caldwell-Pope in transition. It was three of only seven points the Lakers scored in transition in Game 4.

Shot clock violation

The backbreaker.

Adebayo, who returned in Game 4 after missing Games 2 and 3 with a neck injury, made a midrange jump shot over James with 2:25 to go in the fourth quarter, but it was waved off because it came milliseconds after the shot clock expired.

Had Adebayo's shot counted, it would've cut the Heat's deficit to three points.

To kick the Heat while they were down, Caldwell-Pope responded with a layup, giving him 15 points for the game and the Lakers a seven-point lead with 2:02 remaining.

That sequence turned out to be the nail in the coffin for the Heat.

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