Anthony Davis bounced back from a sub-par Game 3, by his standards, with a huge Game 4 that was capped off with clutch plays on either end of the floor.
First, he knocked down a three over Bam Adebayo that made it a three-possession game with 39.5 seconds left, a shot that more or less put the game out of reach for the Heat.
AD: Another Dagger pic.twitter.com/IiRnAee11w- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 7, 2020
After the timeout, Miami cut it to seven and had a chance to cut it to five as Jimmy Butler attempted a layup after the Lakers turned the ball over. But, AD said no.
AD's CLUTCH BLOCK TO SEAL THE @LAKERS GAME 4 WIN! #NBAFINALS pic.twitter.com/YfY56KxGIj- NBA (@NBA) October 7, 2020
That block sealed the game and gave Los Angeles a 3-1 series lead. It was Davis' fourth of the game - a playoff career-high.
This isn't the first time that AD has come up clutch for the purple-and-gold in the postseason. He knocked down a buzzer-beating game-winner in Game 2 of the Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets.
MORE: Takeaways from Game 4 of Lakers-Heat
"You don't have to say anything to Anthony Davis. He wants this more than anything," Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said postgame.
"You don't have to say anything to Anthony Davis. He wants this more than anything."- NBA TV (@NBATV) October 7, 2020
Coach Vogel on AD coming up clutch for the Lakers in Game 4 of the #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/w4RdBppwDc
Coming off a 40-point game in Game 3, Jimmy Butler only had 22 in this one and AD's defence was key to the Lakers limiting the Heat All-Star. After the first quarter, where Butler began Game 4 shooting 5-of-5 from the field, the Lakers began some possessions with AD guarding him, and that certainly played a role in Butler shooting 3-of-12 for the rest of the game.
"We just wanted to give him a different look, honestly," Davis said postgame about starting possessions on Butler.
"Coming in with the mindset of knowing what he just did to us Game 3, very easy for him. The floor was very open. He got what he wanted. And me coming in, knowing that I was guarding him, I just wanted to take all that away and just make it difficult for him."
The Heat's 96 points were the least conceded by the Lakers in the series, fewer than the 98 from their blowout win in Game 1.
"Obviously, Anthony's matchup on Butler was a big factor in our defensive efficiency," Vogel added. "He did a great job. Jimmy is so great, it's hard to even slow him down but AD did a great job."
LeBron James stuffed the stat sheet with 28 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists, but AD's impact on the floor was quite evident from his game-high plus-minus of + 17 in 42 minutes. Next-best Laker was +8 and LeBron registered a -2 in his 39 minutes
MORE: Player Ratings for Game 4 of Lakers-Heat
"Yeah, that's why he's the Defensive Player of the Year. We said that all year.," LeBron said postgame.
AD comes up big on both ends!@AntDavis23 (22 PTS, 9 REB, 4 BLK) clutch three and game-sealing block help the @Lakers win Game 4! #NBAFinals- NBA (@NBA) October 7, 2020
Game 5: Friday - 9:00pm/et, ABC pic.twitter.com/w4ajV1krqQ
"That guy can do everything defensively. Guarding the ball, guard the post, slide his feet with guards, contest, can body up with bigs. I mean, need I say more?"
Davis' defence played a huge part in the Lakers' win but apart from the clutch three, he did carry the load offensively, especially down the stretch. He scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half, combining with LeBron for 34 of the team's 53 points in the final 24 minutes.
Given his impact on the series so far, Davis stands a good chance to be named Finals MVP in his first Finals, if the Lakers clinch it. I mean, Los Angeles winning their 17th title after holding a 3-1 series lead seems likely, right?
That comeback has only been achieved once. Can the Heat get back into the series, starting by forcing a Game 6? We'll know when both teams suit up for Game 5 on Saturday, October 10th at 6:30 a.m. IST.
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