In a sense, Game 4 was a must-win for both the Lakers and the Heat. Their competitive, old-fashioned, relatively low-scoring game showed just that.
But, at the final buzzer, it was the Lakers that finished on top, winning 102-96 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Yet again, their two All-Stars led from the front but they also received valuable contributions from multiple players on their supporting cast.
On the other hand, the Heat battled and came up short late. Plenty of players to shout-out, so here are the player ratings from this game:
Anthony Davis - 10
AD didn't dominate this game, by scoring 30 or more, but by not battling foul trouble like in Game 3, he was more active especially defensively. He tied his playoff career-high in blocks with four, including a huge one in the final seconds of the game on Jimmy Butler.
AD's CLUTCH BLOCK TO SEAL THE @LAKERS GAME 4 WIN! #NBAFINALS pic.twitter.com/YfY56KxGIj- NBA (@NBA) October 7, 2020
Otherwise, he was responsible for just a couple of the Lakers' 15 turnovers and was a game-high +17 in his 42 minutes. He finished the game with 22 points, nine rebounds, and four assists including this dagger that put that game out of reach.
AD: Another Dagger pic.twitter.com/IiRnAee11w- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 7, 2020
He certainly put his name back in contention for the Finals MVP with a 'valuable' game.
LeBron James - 9
LeBron James didn't have a great first half - 8 points (3-8 FGs), 5 turnovers, 4 assists, 3 rebounds - but he rebounded back with a strong second half, to finish with a near triple-double.
LBJ's 2nd half lifts LAL to 3-1 lead! 💪@KingJames (28 PTS, 12 REB, 8 AST) drops 20 in the 2nd half as the @Lakers win Game 4 and go up 3-1!- NBA (@NBA) October 7, 2020
Game 5: Friday - 9:00pm/et, ABC pic.twitter.com/WwZ2x9lhDF
In the second half, he was responsible for 30 (scoring or assisting) of the team's 53 points.
More importantly, in the final 24 minutes, he only registered one turnover. Big-time performance to put his team 3-1, a deficit that has been erased just once in the Finals.
Jimmy Butler - 8
The load on Jimmy Butler reduced with Bam Adebayo's return but he was still doing a majority of the playmaking. He had nine of the team's 18 assists, falling one dime shy of finishing with a second consecutive Finals triple-double.
Numbers-wise, he had a great game - 22 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, and three turnovers but he seemed to be tentative in knocking down shots, especially in the second half, in an attempt to get his teammates going.
Lakers bench - 8
Going into this series, the popular belief was that the Heat, having a deeper squad, would have a better bench but it's the Lakers reserves who have outplayed them in each game of the Finals.
Kyle Kuzma was the sparkplug, scoring nine points on 3-of-6 shooting in 19 minutes, while Alex Caruso chipped in with his seven points in 22 minutes, but the big bench duo in this game was Rajon Rondo and Markieff Morris.
Lakers subs Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso and Markieff Morris grabbed five offensive rebounds in 81 combined minutes.- Steve Aschburner (@AschNBA) October 7, 2020
Miami's whole team had seven offensive rebounds in 240 minutes.
Lakers won battle of second-chance points, 12-7, in a game decided by six points.
Rondo contributed two points, seven rebounds, four assists, and recorded a plus-minus of +8 in 29 minutes. He shot 1-of-7 from the field but was huge late, being responsible for five of the team's last seven points.
On the other hand, Markieff Morris provided the Lakers with an extra physical body to put on Butler in their small line-ups. His nine points were a bonus.
Kentavious Calwell-Pope - 7.5
By in large, the Lakers supporting cast stepped up today but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope deserves some recognition on his own.
All of his 10 first-half points came in the first quarter, in fact, he played a hand in all of the team's first 10 points - eight points (two 3-pointers) and an assist to Davis for a dunk. Then, late in the game, he came up huge, scoring consecutive buckets for five points in the final minutes.
.@MagicJohnson was impressed with KCP's performance in Game 4 👏 pic.twitter.com/zEh7vYt0sh- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 7, 2020
In the end, apart from his 15 points, he also finished with a playoff career-high five assists.
Bam Adebayo - 7.5
The numbers don't necessarily tell the tale of how good Heat centre Bam Adebayo was, given the fact that he was coming off a neck injury that forced him to miss two games.
He played 33 minutes and finished with 15 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. A touch sub-par, given the bar he's set for himself after the Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics.
Tyler Herro - 7
How good is this rookie?
With no Goran Dragic, Herro has bounced back from rough Game 1 and stepped up ever since. In this one, he finished with 21 points - just one shy of the Butler's team-high tally - seven rebounds, and three assists on solid shooting splits of 44.4% (8-18) shooting from the field and 42.9% (3-7) from beyond the arc.
Twelve of his 21 came in the final period - when it counts - so he's shown, repeatedly that he has the game and the confidence for this stage. The only real question mark on his stat line was that he registered a team-worst plus-minus of -13 in his 38 minutes.
Tyler Herro:- StatMuse (@statmuse) October 7, 2020
- Youngest player to start in Finals
- Most 3s by a rookie in playoffs ever
- Most 3s by a rookie in Finals ever
- 6th rookie with 300+ playoff points
- Tied for most consecutive double-digit scoring playoff games by a rookie
He is, in fact, more than a sandwich. pic.twitter.com/d4y39gJhs1
So, for the fourth time in the 2020 postseason, the Lakers responded to a loss with a win. Each of the previous three times, they ensured their opponents didn't win any more games. What will happen in Game 5 of the Finals - will the Heat force a Game 6 or will the Lakers clinch their 17th title in franchise history?
Both teams will play that crucial game, after an extra day's rest, on Saturday, September 10th at 6:30 a.m. IST.
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