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RECAP: Lakers outlast Heat 102-96 to take 3-1 NBA Finals series lead

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Miami couldn’t turn the game around in crunch time and face a tough task ahead.

NBA: Finals-Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat kept clawing back throughout Game 4 of the 2020 NBA Finals, but the Los Angeles Lakers successfully kept them at bay each time to win it 102-96 and take a commanding 3-1 series lead Tuesday night.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow because the Heat showed plenty of fight but lacked a monster game from a player (or two) down the stretch that could have turned the tide. Bam Adebayo returned to the starting lineup after getting injured in Game 1 and scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 33 minutes. He started strong early and had a big hand in the early struggles of LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the first half, but only took eight shots the entire game.

It wasn’t realistic to expect Jimmy Butler to have an encore performance of the magnitude he enjoyed in Game 3, and though he almost notched a second consecutive triple-double with a team-high 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists it simply wasn’t enough. This was one night where the Heat truly missed Goran Dragic, even with another solid game from Tyler Herro who started again and finished with 21 points and seven rebounds.

Miami played L.A. evenly in the second half, with just three points separating the two teams in the third quarter and just one point in the fourth quarter. But what made the difference in crunch time was that the Lakers knocked down timely shots and though the Heat’s starters finished with respectable numbers on the box score, there were no dagger 3s or a forced Lakers turnover that resulted in an easy basket in transition.

We have seen other NBA teams fight back from 1-3 in this very playoffs and the Heat have an extra day to rest and to hopefully get Dragic back in any workable capacity. Game 5 is Friday night at 9:00pm.