Game 4: Heat 119, Bucks 114 | Miami leads the series 3-1
who is the boy Jimmy “Himmy” Butler. It was one of the best individual post-season shows I’ve ever seen. Butler scored 56 points, including 22 in the first quarter and 20 in the fourth. Just untrue things. Oh, and he grabbed nine rebounds and guarded the Bucks’ best players. Butler’s 56 points were not only a career-best mark for a senior player — either in the playoffs or the regular season — but also a Heat franchise playoff record.
What is the key? It may sound corny, but heat culture. The Bucks led the entire game until the 3:17 mark of the fourth quarter. Miami was always within striking distance, but there were moments when Milwaukee appeared to be on the cusp of running away with the game. But, man, Butler made big shot after big shot. Caleb Martin hit some tough, well-timed shots late. Kyle Lowry started at defensive end. The Heat never conceded to the Bucs’ size and physicality.
Key Statistics: 47 percent. Butler scored 47 percent of his team’s points. The 33-year-old forward was 19-of-28 (68 percent) from the floor. The rest of Miami’s starting lineup combined for 33 percent.
The moment it ends: Jrue Holiday was taken down by Lowry with just over 50 seconds to go, and that led to a Butler dunk to put the Heat up five. Bucks inflation and felt it when Miami pulled this out.
Moment of the match: Butler is the moment.
Should bucks be concerned? Yes, they should be very worried. Does Milwaukee have the experience and firepower to win three games in a row, even with Giannis Antetokounmpo? Of course. Can a Butler-led team beat them three times in a row? I wouldn’t put my money on it.
What can the Heat do to win Game 5? The Heat need to get more from Bomb Adebayo offensively. Miami can’t expect Butler to put on these ridiculously efficient shooting performances every game — even if they feel like they’ll never end. Adebayo is shooting 38 percent from 2-point range over the last two games.
What can the Bucs do to win Game 5? Get the ball out of Butler’s hands. Now that Antetokounmpo is back from injury, he will have to take that matchup personally. Mike Budenholzer needs to come up with a better plan. Butler is averaging north of 36 points while shooting over 60 percent from the field in this series.
Game 4: Lakers 117, Grizzlies 111 (OT) | The Lakers lead the series 3-1
who is the boy LeBron James. He made tough and timely shots, including one with 0.8 seconds left to force overtime and the extra frame. James became the first Laker since Shaquille O’Neal (2004) to record at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a playoff game. He finished with 22 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists. Austin Reaves deserves an honorable mention because he was the best Laker for the first 35 minutes. Reaves had a team-high 23 points.
What is the key? Group contribution. The Lakers made some big defensive stops in overtime, but their range of shot-making control allowed them to stay alive. Six players scored in double figures. Reaves was the hot hand early, but he picked up his fourth foul within 90 seconds of the second half. D’Angelo Russell came in and carried the scoring for a while while Reaves sat out. T-Lo also hit some big 3s in the fourth quarter.
Key Statistics: 21.4 percent. That’s Memphis’ 3-point shooting percentage. Desmond Payne, a 3-point specialist, had a stellar 36-point performance for the Grizzlies, but he shot an uncharacteristic 3-of-12 from the field, many of which were good looks.
The moment it ends: When James Dillon took a dribble off Brooks, he absorbed the contact and put the Lakers up by five with 29.1 seconds left. Of all the trash Brooks talked toward James last week, this felt like the perfect ending.
Moment of the match: James’ layup to force overtime.
Should grizzlies be concerned? Yes, they should. Ja Morant’s arm isn’t great, and James can’t be traded before Game 5.
What can the Lakers do to win Game 5? Be very strong in directing actions and control the tempo. Often in Game 4, the Lakers had long stretches where it felt like everyone was standing around.
What can the Grizzlies do to win Game 5? Hit shots. Memphis made good 3-point looks and the ball didn’t fall into the net. If the Grizzlies only shoot 28 percent from 3 instead of 21 percent, we could be talking about tying a series 2-2.
(Photo by Jimmy Butler: Jim Rasol/USA Today)