Frank Vogel hailed LeBron James as "the greatest player the basketball universe has ever seen" after he inspired the Los Angeles Lakers to end their NBA title drought.

James claimed a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers cruised to a 106-93 Game 6 victory on Sunday to become NBA champions for the first time in a decade.

The legendary James was named NBA Finals MVP for the fourth time and became the first player to land that award for three different franchises.

James is now a four-time NBA champion and Lakers head coach Vogel ranks the 35-year-old as the best player of all time.

Asked about his decision to take the job in May 2019, when there was perceived to be uncertainty around the Lakers, Vogel said: "Well, there's not uncertainty in my mind with LeBron James.

"And [when] I took the job, we didn't have Anthony Davis. We didn't have the whole team. It was a different team after the fact.

"But I have always believed in LeBron James. He's the greatest player the basketball universe has ever seen, and if you think you know, you don't know, okay, until you're around him every day, you're coaching him, you're seeing his mind, you're seeing his adjustments, seeing the way he leads the group. You think you know; you don't know.

"It's just been a remarkable experience coaching him and seeing him take this group that was not in the playoffs last year, the roster was put together overnight, and just taking a group and leading us to the promised land, so they say.

"He was terrific the entire season leading us, and I can't say enough about him."

Vogel paid tribute to the mental strength shown by his players since they entered the bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

He said: "Yeah, I've always believed in our mental toughness, and our experience. Not just LeBron, I believe Anthony Davis was destined to be a champion, and the pairing of the two of them together took us here.

"But the experience of the group, the IQ of the group, [Rajon] Rondo, Danny Green, JaVale McGee having been there, the talent level of the other guys, other guys willing to buy into starring in their roles.

"Just we had a strong belief in this group. When we got into the bubble, it was about focusing on the work, staying in the moment, focusing on day to day, and after one point - I don't know if there was really one point.

"I think beating Portland was a huge confidence booster for us because they were playing as well as anybody in the world. We know what Dame Lillard is capable of, and it just built from each series."

Jimmy Butler feels he "grew in every aspect of the game" this season and is convinced the Miami Heat are "trending in the right direction" despite suffering NBA Finals heartbreak.

A 106-93 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers in Sunday's Game 6 in Orlando meant the Heat fell to a 4-2 series loss.

Butler's heroics had helped the Heat get to this stage and he averaged 26.2 points, 9.8 assists and 8.3 rebounds throughout the Finals.

Asked what he learnt about himself, Butler replied: "That I'm a decent player. I think that I grew in every aspect of the game.

"So, I can smile about that. More than anything, I've learned that here, me works. Here, I'm always, always, always, always going to believe in my guys.

"I think the one thing that I learned more than anything is how fun it is to play with these guys. It really was fun watching all my young fellas grow, having vets come in and showcase what they can still do and teach me so much. It was a great time."

While hurting from the loss, Butler is convinced this is just the beginning of something special for the Heat.

He added: "We're trending in the right direction. We're going to learn from this. We're going to get better. We're going to come back. We're going to come back. We'll be back. That's what we're all saying in that locker room.

"We got guys that want to do it. We got guys that already want to get back in the gym and get to working at this thing. That's what we do here.

"Like I said, it was a pleasure to play with these guys. We're definitely moving in the right direction."

Butler finally seems to have a settled home in Miami having had short stints at the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers after ending a six-year stay at the Chicago Bulls in 2017.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra believes both team and player have benefitted from one another.

"I think that's what we're all looking for is to be part of a family," he said.

"To be a part of something where you felt all along that you were searching for something. Where you can just be yourself, you don't have to make any apologies for who you are. We have been searching for him for a long time and I think he's been searching for something like us for a while.

"Again, you're in this business to be around amazing people and to develop incredible relationships.

"It is about the game, it is about winning, but it also is about being around locker rooms that you'll remember for a long, long time. I'm just thrilled to be able to have an opportunity to coach Jimmy and have a relationship with him and move forward chasing this dream. It's not going to stop.

"We're all wired the same. So, we'll get over this at some point. I don't expect anybody to get over it tonight.

"But we have some brothers in arms now moving forward that we share the same values and the same goals and that's part of the battle of just finding that kind of alignment."

Anthony Davis opened up on how "respect" for and "true friendship" with LeBron James off the court built the foundations for the duo leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a record-equalling 17th NBA title.

The Lakers clinched a thrilling Finals 4-2 courtesy of a 106-93 defeat of the Miami Heat in Orlando in Sunday's Game 6, after which James was named series MVP.

Davis' first season in LA has been an unmitigated success and he averaged 25 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists during the Finals, as well as shooting 57.5 per cent from the field.

The prediction that the signing of Davis to play alongside superstar James would end the Lakers' 10-year title drought came to fruition and the former New Orleans Pelicans star says his relationship with his team-mate was key.

"[It's built on] respect. True friendship. Off the court – we're close on the court, but you've got to see us off the court. It's unreal. I'm always at his house. He's always at my house. This is true the entire season," Davis said.

"There's no jealousy. No one is envious of each other. Guys don't have personal agendas. We're just two guys who just want to win for various reasons. We were able to do it.

"And having a team who gets on us. Do [Rajon Rondo], Duds [Jared Dudley], all these guys are in our ear every single game about being great.

"When you've got a supporting cast like that, who make shots, and big shots for you, it makes our jobs a hell of a lot easier to go out there and just do what we do, knowing that if we have bad games, they pick us up. And if they are playing pretty bad, then we pick them up.

"We have a great team who trusts one another. It starts with me and Bron. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. I challenge him. He challenges me. It's not always sweet and smooth, but it gets the job done.

"You're going to have confrontations and arguments throughout the season to win a championship. We had our fair share. But at the end of the day, we respect one another. We respect what each one is trying to do. I respect his game, he respects my game and we just put it all together."

Davis, who had 19 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in Game 6, is about to enter free agency and said, "I have no idea" and "I'm sure we'll figure it out" when probed about his future.

It seems unthinkable Davis will depart the Lakers and the 27-year-old spoke about the moment he realised he was part of a team capable of winning the championship.

"It was really after the first couple games of the regular season where we would start rolling – playing defense, scoring the basketball – and we realised how great of a team that we are and that we got enough to become champions this year," he added. 

"The entire time here in the bubble, he [James] never let us get too high, never get too low after losses. Just said, 'One game at a time'. And he knows what it takes on both sides, being up in a series and being down in a series and winning."

Towards the end of the game, Davis walked into the back with James chasing after his team-mate and the former revealed some light-hearted ribbing from the latter.

"I was 25 seconds from becoming a champion. I got emotional. It's the type of journey that I've been on, my team has been on, the organization has been on – it all came just full circle with this championship. So, I just got real emotional," he said.

"He [James] was bothering me, saying, 'You're soft. Oh, you cry baby'. I walked to the back, and there was a banner trophy. I kind of grabbed it. Then we walked back out to the court. It was an unbelievable feeling, and just an emotional moment for me."

LeBron James said doubters have fuelled his drive for success after leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA championship since 2010.

James was crowned Finals MVP for a fourth time as the Lakers outclassed the Miami Heat 106-93 for a 4-2 series triumph at Walt Disney World Resort on Sunday.

Lakers superstar James celebrated a fourth league title after posting his 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in Orlando, Florida.

It is his first championship with the Lakers, having struggled for form and fitness during his maiden season in Los Angeles in 2018-19.

James – who set the record for most postseason appearances with 260 – had a point to prove this season and the 35-year-old capped it with championship and MVP honours.

Often compared to Hall of Famer and six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan as his position among the greats is debated, James told reporters post-game: "I think personally thinking I have something to prove fuels me.

"It fuelled me over this last year and a half since the injury. It fuelled me because no matter what I've done in my career to this point, there's still little rumblings of doubt or comparing me to the history of the game and has he done this, has he done that.

"So having that in my head, having that in my mind, saying to myself, why not still have something to prove, I think it fuels me."

James is the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP with three different teams, having also received the honour with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, per Stats Perform.

In his 17th season, James moved clear of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan with a fourth Finals MVP – now only trailing Michael Jordan (six).

James is the fourth player all-time to score 30,000-plus points and win four or more championships. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 38,387 points and six titles, ahead of Michael Jordan (32,292 points and six titles) and Kobe Bryant (33,643 points and five titles).

The Lakers' 17th championship came amid the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the 2019-20 season to be suspended in March before resuming behind closed doors inside the Orlando bubble in July.

James and the top-seeded Lakers overcame the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Heat en route to a memorable title.

"I can't sit here and say one is more challenging than the other or one is more difficult than the other," James said when asked to compare the difficulty of his championships. "I can just say that I've never won with this atmosphere. None of us have. We've never been a part of this. If you've been here throughout the start -- I mean, we got here July 9th. Our ballclub got here July 9th. It's October 11th now.

"So this was very challenging and difficult. It played with your mind. It played with your body. You're away from some of the things that you're so accustomed to make you be the professional that you are. This is right up there.

"I heard some rumblings from people that are not in the bubble, oh, you don't have to travel, whatever. People just doubting what goes on in here. This is right up there with one of the greatest accomplishments I've had."

James and fellow All-Star Anthony Davis combined to end the Lakers' wait for glory, with the latter tasting success for the first time in his maiden season since joining from the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster deal at the start of the campaign.

"I can't really explain it," James replied when asked about his relationship with Davis. "There's just certain things you just know. And any type of relationship, you know that vibe. You have that respect. You have that drive. Sometimes you can't explain what links you with somebody, and then it's that organic.

"Sometimes, you don't even try to explain it. You guys ask me about my relationship with AD, the first thing I think about is the respect, the no ego, the challenging each other. We want each other to be better than actually ourselves.

"I want AD to be better than me. AD want me to be better than him. Every single night, every single day. And we challenge ourselves. I think that's a part of it."

For the first time since 2010, the Los Angeles Lakers celebrated an NBA championship on Sunday.

The Lakers outclassed the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 to seal a 4-2 series victory in the NBA Finals at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Lakers superstar LeBron James led the way with a triple-double (28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists) as his fourth league title was capped by a fourth Finals MVP.

As James and the Lakers party inside the Orlando bubble, we look at the numbers behind their success using Stats Perform data.

 

- With a 17th NBA title, the Lakers tied the Boston Celtics for the most championships all-time. The next three teams on the all-time list have combined for 17 titles (Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors: 6, San Antonio Spurs: 5).

- The Lakers' plus-6.8 average rebounding margin in this postseason was the highest for any NBA champion since the 2001 Lakers (+7.4).

- Los Angeles are the first team to with the title despite shooting a lower percentage from three-point range than their opponents in the playoffs since the 2000 Lakers.

- The Lakers' 15.4 turnovers per game this postseason were the most by any NBA champion since the 2006 Heat (15.5).

- The Lakers minus-1.9 average turnover margin in the NBA Finals was the worst by a champion since the 2005 Spurs (-5.9).

- James, who broke the record for most playoff appearances with 260 on Sunday, is the fourth player all-time to score 30,000-plus points and win four or more championships. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 38,387 points and six titles, ahead of Michael Jordan (32,292 points and six titles) and Kobe Bryant (33,643 points and five titles).

- James and Danny Green join John Salley and Robert Horry as the only NBA players to win a title with three different teams.

- Former Cleveland Cavaliers and Heat star James is the first player ever to win NBA Finals MVP with three different teams. In fact, no player in MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL history has ever won the championship MVP award with three different teams.

- James averaged 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and shot 56.0 per cent from the floor. He is the first player in NBA history to average 25.0-plus points, 10.0-plus rebounds and 8.0-plus assists per game while shooting 50.0-plus per cent from the field in a single postseason (minimum 15 games).

- And at 35 years, 286 days old, James is the second-oldest player to win the Finals MVP, behind only Abdul-Jabbar (38 years, 54 days in 1985).

LeBron James said he wanted respect after leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA championship in 10 years.

James posted a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers crushed the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday to seal a 4-2 series win in the NBA Finals.

The 35-year-old won his fourth title and was later named the NBA Finals MVP for the fourth time in his career.

James was delighted to bring the Lakers a 17th championship, saying he – and the franchise – wanted to be respected.

"It means a lot. It means a lot to represent this franchise," he told ESPN.

"I told Jeanie [Buss, Lakers owner] when I came here that I was going to put this franchise back in a position where it belongs. Her late, great father did it for so many years and she just took it on after that and for me to be part of such a historical franchise is an unbelievable feeling, not only for myself, but for my team-mates, for the organisation, for the coaches, for the trainers, everybody that's here.

"We just want our respect. Rob [Pelinka, Lakers general manager] wants his respect, coach [Frank] Vogel wanted his respect, our organisation want their respect, Laker Nation want their respect and I want my damn respect too."

James' fourth NBA title and Finals MVP further cemented his place among the greatest players of all-time.

But, the 16-time All-Star said he simply wanted to continue delivering for his team-mates.

"One thing I can do is commit to the game. I put myself, my body and my mind in position to be available to my team-mates," James said.

"I've never missed a playoff game in my career and the best thing you can do for your team-mates is be available.

"For me to be available to my team-mates and put in the work, I just hope I make my guys proud and that's all that matters to me. I make my guys proud, make the fan base proud, my family back home, I can't wait to get back home to them, Akron, Ohio, we did it again and that's what it's all about."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James capped a championship-winning campaign with a fourth NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award.

James secured a fourth title and the Lakers claimed their first championship since 2010 after routing the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 on Sunday.

The 35-year-old's 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists helped deliver a 17th championship to the Lakers at Walt Disney World Resort.

James is now the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP with three different teams, having also received the honour with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.

In his 17th season, James moved clear of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan with a fourth MVP – now only trailing Michael Jordan (six).

James also set another NBA playoff record, appearing in his 260th postseason game.

He moved into first place on the all-time list for playoff appearances, surpassing Derek Fisher.

Of the 4,489 players to have participated in an NBA regular-season contest, 63 per cent have not reached 260 games.

The LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers annihilated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to claim their first championship since 2010.

Jimmy Butler and Miami delayed the Lakers' title celebrations by winning Game 5 to stave off elimination at Walt Disney World on Friday.

But there was no denying the red-hot Lakers on Sunday as the storied franchise ended their 10-year wait for glory with a 4-2 series victory in Orlando, Florida.

James – who broke the record for most playoff appearances with 260 – captured a fourth NBA title after posting his 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, while Anthony Davis (19 points and 15 rebounds) had a double-double for his maiden championship.

The Heat were buoyed by the return of star guard Goran Dragic (5 points), who made his comeback from a foot injury, which had sidelined him since Game 1.

But Miami were outplayed from the outset as the Lakers extinguished the Heat with a defensive masterclass.

The Lakers made a hot start, leading 28-20 at the end of the first quarter behind James' nine points, five rebounds and three assists.

Los Angeles showed no mercy as they took a comprehensive 64-36 lead into half-time – 15 points apiece from Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (17 points) fuelling the Lakers.

Rajon Rondo (19 points) dazzled off the bench, managing 13 points on six-of-six shooting from the field while he made his only three-point attempt.

It came as no Heat player scored double-digit points through two quarters.

While the Heat were only outscored by a point in the third quarter, the damage was already done as the Lakers cruised to their 17th NBA championship following a season which saw franchise great Kobe Bryant tragically killed in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter in January.

Bam Adebayo led the steamrolled Heat with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Butler put up 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

The Los Angeles Lakers claimed their first championship since 2010 and LeBron James won a fourth title after comprehensively sealing a 4-2 series victory over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

Miami Heat star Goran Dragic is listed as active for Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dragic has been sidelined since tearing the plantar fascia in his left foot during the Game 1 loss to the Lakers.

But the Heat guard is back in the fold for Sunday's showdown, though it remains to be seen if he will play.

The Heat trail 3-2 but can level the series and force a deciding Game 7 by beating LeBron James' Lakers at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James set another NBA playoff record, appearing in his 260th postseason game.

Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Miami Heat on Sunday saw James move into first place on the all-time list for playoff appearances, surpassing Derek Fisher.

Of the 4,489 players to have participated in an NBA regular-season contest, 63 per cent have not reached 260 games.

The sixth showdown at Walt Disney World Resort is also James' 55th NBA Finals clash – tying Jerry West for fourth in league history as Bill Russell (70) tops the list.

The Lakers lead the Heat 3-2 in the best-of-seven series as the storied franchise stand on the cusp of their first championship since 2010, while James nears a fourth title.

James posted 40 points and 13 rebounds in Friday's Game 5 loss in Orlando, where the 35-year-old became the first player to post 40-plus points in a loss with a chance to clinch in the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan in Game 5 in 1993, per Stats Perform.

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

  1. NBA FINALS 2020- ONE FOR THE BOOKS!

Despite which team emerges as the 2019/2020 NBA champion, this final series has been one for the books It is the first of its kind, being played amidst the coronavirus pandemic in a bio-secure bubble in a socially and politically charged environment. The players, coaches and organizers are true heroes for completing the season.

The 2020 NBA bubble which cost $170 million, was created to protect players from the Covid-19 virus for the final eight games of the regular season and the entirety of NBA playoffs. Simply put, players have been away from their families since July.

There were cases when some players spoke out about how the bubble took a toll on their mental health. Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Love shared his own challenges with mental health.

LA Clippers forward Paul George was quoted saying, “I underestimated mental health. I had anxiety, a little bit of depression, us being locked in here. I just wasn’t here. I checked out.”

The issue became so pertinent, the NBA made provisions to allow players to invite some guests into the Orlando bubble. Again, credit must be given to those who put everything aside to play the sport they love in such uncertain times and under challenging circumstances.

Then, as if playing in a bio-secure bubble without loved ones around was not enough, the players were asked to give their best in a highly politically and socially charged environment. Basketball was being played at a time when a young black woman, Breonna Taylor, was shot to death by police her at home. Afterwards, in Minneapolis, George Floyd died at the hands of a police officer, who kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.

 NBA players and management did what they could to stand up for social justice. The Milwaukee Bucks boycotted a game against the Orlando Magic. The Houston Rockets and the OKC Thunder also boycotted games forcing the NBA to postpone their remaining playoffs for the day.  

In response, the NBA spent a great amount of time spreading messages against social injustice while the players did the best to provide entertainment for their millions of fans. Despite which team is crowned 2019/2020 NBA champions, this is one that will go down in history.

 

  1. Rashford continues to use his political capital to assist those in need.

Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford is set to be awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE). It is a well-deserved honour that highlights the importance of sporting personalities using their platform to give voice for the voiceless.

 

The 22-year-old championed the fight for 1.3 million children to claim free school meal vouchers in England during the Summer holidays. He did so by writing a powerful open letter to lawmakers that was supported by his more than 12 million followers on social media.

The England international subsequently formed a child food poverty task force, linking up with some of the nation's biggest supermarkets and food brands. During September, Rashford received the Professional Footballers' Association merit award for his efforts.

Rashford’s 22 goals in the interrupted campaign helped Manchester United to third place in the Premier League. Manchester United said they were "delighted" to see his work off the pitch had been recognized.

"Everyone at Manchester United is hugely proud of Marcus for the work he has been doing to tackle food poverty among vulnerable children," a club statement read.

"His campaigning has raised awareness of a crucial issue and made a positive difference, and we are delighted to see his efforts being recognized with this honor."

It is about time other sporting personalities used their power to assist the vulnerable. Keep up the good work Marcus Rashford, on and off the field!

 

 

Anthony Davis insists he will be ready for Game 6 of the NBA Finals despite aggravating a heel injury in the Los Angeles Lakers' Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat. 

Davis appeared to sustain an injury in the first quarter of the Lakers' 111-108 defeat in Orlando, which saw them fail to clinch a 17th NBA title in franchise history. 

They will have another chance to do so on Sunday and the seven-time All-Star expects to be healthy as the Lakers aim to close out the series at the second attempt. 

Explaining his injury, Davis said: "Iggy [Andre Iguodala] kind of stepped on it. Re-aggravated it. But I'll be fine on Sunday. 

"It happened in the last series against Denver. I think it was Game 5 if I'm not mistaken. Iggy just re-aggravated it. Went out the end of the first and it just kind of just wore off and got back to normal. 

"Just kept moving around. Just trying not to sit down. Get that adrenaline going and I was able to keep going and keep playing." 

Asked about the pressure the Lakers face going into Game 6 against a motivated Heat team, Davis replied: "I mean, there's no pressure. We're motivated too. 

"We are motivated to win a championship just as they are motivated. You've got two teams who want to compete. They feel like they have to win every game. We feel like we have to win. We're motivated as well to finish this thing off and hoist that trophy just as bad as them. 

"It's about execution. Like I say, it's plays that we broke down too many times defensively. If we don't have those plays, it's a different game. 

"We have to be better on the defensive end and take care of what we've got to take care of. Duncan Robinson came up too many times wide open. Two four-point plays. Offensive rebounds. Stuff that we can control. 

"We're motivated to win Game 6 and they are motivated to win Game 6. It's not going to be easy, but we expect to win."

LeBron James said the Los Angeles Lakers must play better after failing to clinch the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on Friday.

The Lakers stood on the cusp of their first championship since 2010 but went down to the Heat 111-108 in a wild Game 5 at Walt Disney World Resort.

James posted 40 points and 13 rebounds as the Lakers' series lead was cut to 3-2 after Jimmy Butler's triple-double fuelled the Heat in a thrilling showdown in Orlando, Florida.

Eyeing his fourth title, James became the first player to post 40-plus points in a loss with a chance to clinch in the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan in Game 5 in 1993, per Stats Perform.

The Lakers can still close out the Finals on Sunday, and James warned improvement is needed if the storied franchise are to end a 10-year wait for glory.

"Obviously it was back and forth, big play after big play," James told reporters following an entertaining finish, which saw seven lead changes in the final three minutes.

"A couple of questionable calls that swayed their way and put Jimmy to the free-throw line. Obviously, we can't do that. He's been damn near perfect at the free-throw line in the series.

"We just needed to get one stop. We felt like if we could get one stop, we could do something on the offensive end. But we got a hell of a look. We got a hell of a look to win the game, to win the series.

"Didn't go down. And then we got the offensive rebound, we turned the ball over. I thought we had a lot more time than I think we even thought after the offensive rebound, and a pass wasn't executed as we would like.

"But we've got to be better. We've just got to be better in Game 6 and close the series."

James added: "I've always stayed even keeled. You know, throughout the highs, throughout the lows, you stay even keeled and get better with the process. You stay in the moment, which I am, and understanding that we can be better.

"And how we make the adjustments and how we learn from tonight, tomorrow in our film session and when we get together and prepare ourselves for Sunday, will show the difference."

The Lakers had a chance to win the game at the death and clinch the title as James – surrounded by three defenders – found team-mate Danny Green alone at the top of the key.

However, Green's shot fell short as the Heat went on to close out the win with back-to-back free throws.

"I won't let a play here or a play there change my outlook on the game and how I play the game. I mean, if you just look at the play, I was able to draw two defenders below the free-throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for a wide open three to win a championship," James said. "I trusted him, we trusted him, and it just didn't go. You live with that. You live with that.

"It's one of the best shots that we could have got, I feel, in that fourth quarter, especially down the stretch with two guys on me, Duncan Robinson and Jimmy, and Danny had a hell of a look. It just didn't go down. I know he wish he can have it again. I wish I could make a better pass. You know, but you just live with it."

Jimmy Butler is optimistic the Miami Heat can complete a comeback against the Los Angeles Lakers after staying alive in the NBA Finals.

Butler produced a mammoth performance as the Heat held on to beat the Lakers 111-108 in a wild contest on Friday to force a Game 6.

The Heat trailed 3-1 and faced elimination heading into Game 5 at Walt Disney World Resort as the Lakers looked to seal a first championship since 2010.

But Butler went head-to-head against LeBron James and came out on top with a triple-double, posting 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists to cut the Lakers' series lead to 3-2.

The Heat still face a difficult battle overhauling the Lakers, but Miami star Butler fancies his team's chances ahead of Sunday's sixth showdown in Orlando, Florida.

"I'm sure they [Lakers] wanted to win, thought they was going to win coming into it. As did we," Butler told reporters following a game which featured seven lead changes during the final three minutes.

"But it was a hard-fought game, I think it's going to be even harder for us next game, but I like our chances."

"I can say it every time I'm up here, but we live for these moments," he said. "Like the work that we put in, we're built for this, we have been doing this all year long. This didn't just start in the bubble. We have been playing together, win, loss, draw, whatever, we're in this thing together. And that's what's going to win us games.

"I think night in and night out it could be anybody. It could be Bam [Adebayo], it could be hopefully Goran [Dragic]. Like we're so together when we're out there on the floor, off the floor, that's why we win because everybody wants everybody to be successful.

Butler became the first player with a 35-point triple-double in the NBA Finals when facing elimination since James Worthy in 1988 Game 7, according to Stats Perform.

"That's what my team asks of me, that's what they need me to do, and I think coach Pat [Riley] and Coach [Erik] Spoelstra brought me here for that reason; to help us win games and I have to continue to do that for two more games," Butler said.

"I know that I'm capable of it, but I got a hell of a group of guys around me that make my job a lot easier. I'm fortunate for those guys because when I pass it to them they make shots. When I get beat going to the rim, they're there. So we're in this thing together and they give me a lot of confidence to go out there and hoop."

The five-time All-Star played 47 gruelling minutes to help his team and struggled to walk off the podium following his news conference.

"I left it all out there on the floor along with my guys, and that's how we're going to have to play from here on out," Butler continued. "Like I always say, it's win or win for us. But this is the position that we're in. We like it this way. We got two more in a row to get."

"I know that I'm capable of it. I believe in my skill set and my talent. My team-mates do as well. But it's not just me, Duncan [Robinson] had a hell of a game, [Kendrick] Nunn came in and did what K-Nunn did. Bam had a huge one. All of us, all of us was the reason that we won this game and it's going to be the same way for the next two."

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