Lakers hold off Heat for win
ORLANDO, Fla. - LeBron James' shouts could be heard all the way to the top of the nearly empty arena.
"WOOO! WOOO! WOOO!"
Anthony Davis had just made a three-pointer to give the Los Angeles Lakers a nine-point lead with 39.5 seconds remaining. He was shouting too, but it was James' voice that carried as the Lakers' socially distanced fan section erupted in cheers.
In Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night at AdventHealth Arena, the Lakers found a way.
The Lakers had just enough to come out ahead, 102-96, and take a 3-1 series lead over the Miami Heat.
James led the Lakers, finishing with 28 points, eight assists and 12 rebounds, while Anthony Davis scored 22 points with four assists and nine rebounds. Both James and Davis made eight of 16 shots attempted.
There would be no repeat domination from Heat star Jimmy Butler, who was guarded by Davis. He scored 11 points in the first quarter, making his first five shots, and then didn't make another field goal until the fourth quarter. After a 40-point triple-double in Game 3, Butler finished with 22 points, nine assists and 10 rebounds in Game 4.
It was another sloppy game for the Lakers, who committed nine first-half turnovers, five by James. It was part of why they couldn't pull away from the Heat despite Miami's low shooting percentages.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, James got to the basket, took some contact, and fell to the ground. As the ball went into the hoop he lay flat on his back and flexed his arms staring up into the rafters.
The Heat did not relent and James wasn't going to either.
It had been a tie game in the second half of the fourth quarter, the Heat having pulled even after a banked-in three by Duncan Robinson and then a layup through traffic by Butler.
With the Heat down 90-88, Butler had an open look for a corner three-pointer, but missed. Moments later, James found Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a three-pointer that he sank. The next score belonged to Caldwell-Pope, too, a driving layup with two minutes left in the game to give the Lakers a seven-point lead.
Against a dangerous team like Miami, they couldn't feel comfortable just yet. But that would come soon.