Jimmy Butler was instrumental again with a 35-point triple-double as the Miami Heat prevailed 111-108 in a breathtaking Game 5 to put the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship party on ice.

The Heat trailed 3-1 in the NBA Finals and faced elimination heading into Friday's showdown at Walt Disney World Resort, where LeBron James' Lakers were looking to seal a first title since 2010.

But Butler had other ideas, finishing with 12 rebounds and 11 assists to help the rallying Heat stay alive and force a Game 6 in the best-of-seven series in Orlando, Florida on Sunday.

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.

James – who had 40 points and 13 rebounds – also 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.

Heat star Butler and James went head-to-head in stunning fashion, and the former came out on top down the stretch, which featured seven lead changes during the final three minutes.

The Lakers had trailed for most of the game, having not led since the first quarter, but they moved ahead 97-96 on a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three-pointer with just over six minutes remaining.

But with their backs against the wall, the Heat never surrendered as Butler and Duncan Robinson (26 points) continued to step up in clutch moments.

Robinson made a pair of three-pointers in the final period, including a huge 27-foot jumper from beyond the arc to give the Heat a 101-99 lead before James levelled things up again with back-to-back free throws.

It was box office entertainment as Butler and James traded shots, while Anthony Davis' two had the Lakers up 108-107 with 21.8 seconds on the clock.

However, Butler made a pair of free throws to restore Miami's advantage 16.8 seconds from the end before team-mate Tyler Herro also nailed both of his free throws to seal victory.

Davis put up 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, but struggled late in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury.

Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat remain confident they can overturn a series deficit in the NBA Finals, despite the Los Angeles Lakers being one win away from the championship.

The Heat meet LeBron James and the Lakers in Game 5 on Friday, trailing 3-1 and facing defeat in the Finals at Walt Disney World Resort.

Miami face an uphill battle as the Lakers stand on the cusp of their first title since 2010 but Heat star Butler is refusing to surrender in Orlando.

"I don't think it's pressure," Butler told reporters on Thursday. "I think it's just win. Ain't nobody thinking about going home over here. It's just win, so there is no pressure.

"We're expected to win. That's our job. It's not win or go home, it's win or win. That's how we think about it."

"We know what we do every day," the five-time All-Star continued. "I mean, we just love to compete with one another. We realise that there's a chance that it won't look the same next year, but we're in it for the right now. We're going to give everything that we have for one another.

"And like I said, we go back and we're looking at stuff and we're correcting stuff, and we're like, damn, we see it on film. We've just got to be able to see these things in the game.

"So you know, everybody is looking forward to it. Everybody is ready to compete, ready to get one."

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who led Miami to championships in 2012 and 2013 during James' time with the franchise, added: "We think it's a really competitive series.

"We have a purpose of why we're here. We're competing for a title and it's the first team to four wins. There's a lot of different narratives out there -- we don't give a s*** what everybody else thinks.

"This is everything that we wanted this year, an opportunity to fight for, compete for a title. And that hasn't changed at all through these first games."

LeBron James is not thinking about his legacy as the Los Angeles Lakers stand on the cusp of an NBA championship.

The Lakers lead the Miami Heat 3-1 in the NBA Finals and can clinch their first title since 2010 with victory in Game 5 on Friday.

James, alongside Anthony Davis, has led the way as he closes in on his fourth championship but first since joining the Lakers in 2018-19.

The 35-year-old is also well placed to claim a fourth NBA Finals MVP, having not scored under 25 points in four games against the Heat at Walt Disney World Resort.

James also has three double-doubles to his name in this season's Finals as debate about his position among the league's greats continues.

However, James is far more interested in inspiring others after telling reporters on Thursday: "I don't really think about it too much. I think the story will be told how it's supposed to be told and be written how it's supposed to be written. But I don't live my life thinking about legacy.

"What I do off the floor is what means more to me than what I do on the floor. Seeing my kids on the back of a Wheaties box yesterday was one of the best moments of my life. Seeing my mom unveil the box back in my hometown of Akron, Ohio, yesterday was some of the best news, videos and pictures that I've ever seen, that I could ever get.

"The game of basketball will pass me by. There will be a new group of young kids and vets and rookies throughout the course of this game. So, I can't worry about that as far as on the floor.

"How I move, how I walk, what I preach, what I talk about, how I inspire the next generation is what matters to me the most. And if you appreciate my game, then cool. If you didn't, then that's cool, too. That's what it boils down to."

James is preparing for his 259th playoff game, tying Derek Fisher for the most all-time.

The former Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat superstar has also won 17 of his past 18 games with an opportunity to close out a series.

Asked about his mindset, James added: "[It is] Just who I am. Just the way I prepare my mind, prepare my body, prepare for the moment. Just having that desperation coming to a close-out game. I've been victorious after having that mindset.

"But that's just who I've become and how I've challenged and channelled my mindset. Living in the moment and not taking it for granted and just channelling that desperation, just knowing that the opponent and the man that's across from you has that same feeling. That's what it is."

In an unprecedented year, it is nice to know that some things remain the same – LeBron James is on the verge of making history.  

With his Los Angeles Lakers leading the NBA Finals 3-1 entering Friday's Game 5 against the Miami Heat, the 35-year-old forward appears likely to win his fourth championship, adding to an impossibly long list of career accomplishments.  

But James also has a chance to win another Finals MVP award, a distinction that could cement his legacy as one of the two best players in NBA history.  

James has won Finals MVP in each of his three title runs in 2012, 2013 and 2016, and is in a class with Magic Johnson Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal with three such awards.  

With a fourth Finals MVP, James would trail only Michael Jordan and his six. James would also become the first player to win Finals MVP honours with three different teams – perhaps a fitting distinction for the man who ushered a new era of player movement in 2010 when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers for Miami.  

But what of Anthony Davis, an All-NBA performer and perhaps James' best team-mate of his career?  

Davis is the Lakers' leading scorer this postseason with 28.2 points per game. He knocked down a three-pointer and blocked a Jimmy Butler layup in the last 40 seconds of Tuesday's 102-96 victory in Game 4.  

Davis has been incredible since joining from the New Orleans Pelicans, but James is still the most vital component in the Lakers' superpowered engine and the primary reason Los Angeles are on the cusp of winning their 17th NBA title and first since 2010.  

James has increased his scoring on the NBA's biggest stage, averaging 27.8 points in the Finals and scoring at least 25 in each game. Davis, on the other hand, scored 28.8 points per game in the Western Conference playoffs but is down to 25.8 per game in the Finals after 15- and 22-point performances in Games 3 and 4.  

James also has better numbers cleaning the glass than Davis in the Finals, averaging 11.0 rebounds per game to Davis' 9.3.  

But James' greatest attribute may be his ability to elevate his team-mates. The NBA's regular-season assist leader at 10.2 per game, James has recorded an assist on 51 of Davis' 189 made field goals this postseason.  

The Lakers' point differential per 100 possessions this postseason with James on the court is +10.5. Without James on the court in these playoffs, the Lakers have a -2.9 differential per 100 possessions – a net difference of 13.4.  

Davis is still very important with a net difference of 9.8 (+9.6 on the court; -0.2 off), but the Lakers are better equipped to play without him than James.  

And while there is plenty of objective evidence to support James' case to win Finals MVP, his story and career arc may also play a role in the eyes of the 11 beat writers and national media members who vote for the award.  

James is averaging 26.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game in the playoffs and is on the cusp of joining Larry Bird as the only players to win a championship while averaging at least 25-8-8 over the course of the playoffs.  

James is already the all-time postseason leader in points (7,423), minutes (10,729), field goals (2,643), free throws (1,730) and steals (441). On Friday, he will play in his 259th career playoff game, tying him with Derek Fisher for the most all-time.  

Despite playing at the end of his 17th NBA season, James has shown few signs of his production falling. His 512 points this postseason are the most ever by a player at least 35 years old. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the only other player to even have 400 in a single playoff run at that age.  

Simply put, James is doing far more at an advanced age than any player in NBA history.  

The case for James does not diminish the enormous contributions of Davis, without whom the Lakers went 37-45 last season. But with one more win against the Heat – whether it comes in Friday's Game 5 or is delayed – James will likely be crowned Finals MVP, adding yet another feather to his already crowded cap.  

LeBron James says he will not sleep until the Los Angeles Lakers are holding the NBA Championship.

James led the Lakers in scoring with 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as they bounced back in Tuesday’s gutsy 102-96 win against the Miami Heat in Orlando, Florida.

The three-time NBA Champion has been tweeting in the middle of the night during the finals series, which was reignited when an injury-hit Miami sealed an upset win in game three.

The Lakers and Heat have an extra day off before game five on Friday but that does not mean there will be any additional rest while the prize is on James’ mind.

LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers to within one game of their first NBA Championship in a decade after girinding out a 102-96 game four win against the Miami Heat.

James was restricted to eight points in a closely-contested first half but the ex-Miami superstar put up 20 second-half points to record a game-high 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to send Los Angeles 3-1 ahead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals series.

Anthony Davis (22 points) played a key supporting role, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (15 points) made a pair of clutch fourth-quarter plays that extended the lead from two points to seven with two minutes to play.

Miami’s Jimmy Butler backed up his sensational game three performance by leading his team in scoring with 22 points, while rookie Tyler Herro (21 points) and Duncan Robinson (17 points) help keep the Heat’s chances alive in Orlando, Florida.

Jimmy Butler will keep telling his mind and "nicked up" body to "cut it out" and go through the pain barrier as the Miami Heat strive for NBA glory.

Butler scored 40 points, provided 13 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds to inspire the Heat to a 115-104 NBA Finals Game 3 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

The Heat will attempt to maintain the momentum and level the seven-match series at Walt Disney World in Florida on Tuesday.

Five-time All-Star Butler has played almost every minute of the last two games and was fouled 11 times in his magnificent performance last time out.

Butler knows his body will come in for more punishment but is ready to suffer with so much at stake.

Asked how he goes about getting ready for Game 4, he said: "A lot of rest, a lot of treatment, a lot of everything. But I think a lot of it's mental.

"You know your body is going to be hurt, but you've got to tell your mind and tell your body to cut it out. And I think that's where I'm at at this point.

"Everybody is hurting, not just me. Everybody on my roster, everybody on the Lakers' roster. We're all nicked up. We've all got some pain. But we're all coming out there to compete."

Butler hopes his exploits have made basketball fans realise his burning desire to be successful.

Asked what he thinks NBA fans may have learned about him, he replied: "For me, that I'm just all about winning. I'll do whatever you ask me to do, if you can guarantee me a win. I realise that nothing is guaranteed.

"But I'll do whatever you ask me to do to put my team in the best position to win. That's it."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will stay "locked in" and "even keel" during the NBA Finals as he vowed to respond to a Game 3 setback.

Jimmy Butler was the star of the show as the Miami Heat beat the Lakers 115-104 to reduce the deficit to 2-1 in the seven-match series.

James accepted he did not do himself justice against his former team at Walt Disney World in Florida on Sunday.

The four-time NBA MVP is not dwelling on that performance ahead of Game 4 on Tuesday, when the Lakers get a chance to move a step closer to a first title for a decade.

James said: "Until the series is completed, I kind of stay on edge, stay locked in on the job at hand.

"Obviously, no one wants to ever lose. You hate that feeling, especially when you know you didn't play your best, and I definitely wasn't at my best [in Game 3] from an individual standpoint.

"So, I take that responsibility, and I take that with a lot of passion and understanding of how I can be much better in the following game.

"Throughout the postseason, I stay even keel.

"As I've grown in this game and I've grown over the years, I kind of stay even keel, understanding that there's always another opportunity to get better."

The Miami Heat are back in the NBA Finals. Thanks, Jimmy Butler.

A sweep looked to be well and truly on the cards. Miami were without center Bam Adebayo and point guard Goran Dragic again in Game 3 against the Los Angeles Lakers, which they went into 2-0 down.

They needed Butler to step up. He answered the call emphatically, changing the complexion of the series significantly ahead of Game 4 on Tuesday.

The five-time All-Star scored 40 points together with 13 assists and 11 rebounds in a determined, gritty 45 minutes on the floor, bringing the Heat back from the brink.

"How else do you say it other than Jimmy effing Butler," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.

"But this is what he wanted, this is what we wanted. It's really hard to analyse or describe Jimmy until you actually feel him between the four lines.

"He's a supreme, elite competitor and we needed it."

Among the greats

Butler became only the third player with a 40-point triple-double in Finals history and the first to get one in a winning effort. It was also the first time the Lakers have seen an opponent register a 40-point triple-double against them in playoff history.

The nine-year forward spent much of the second half guarding LeBron James, whose playmaking abilities helped Frank Vogel's side twice erase double-digit deficits and even move in front in the fourth quarter.

James is bidding to win his fourth ring against his former team but Butler made sure he will not waltz to the championship by joining LeBron (four) as the only Heat players with 40-point triple-doubles in the playoffs.

Butler's 40-point haul represents the joint-fifth most scored in the Finals while down 2-0 or 3-0, while it was the biggest in a triple-double when trailing by either of those scores.

Dominating in the paint

The Heat struggled to control Anthony Davis and James in the paint during the first two games but Butler turned that narrative on its head on Sunday.

He scored 24 of his 40 points in the paint, a total only bettered in the Finals since play-by-play data became available by LeBron (30 in 2017 Game 5 and 26 in 2018 Game 1) and Kyrie Irving (26 in 2017 Game 1).

Butler also made 12 free throws, the sixth time this postseason he has been in double digits from the stripe – more than any other player.

"In terms of the physicality, this is why Jimmy prepares the way he does that is so uncommon, year-round. Just to be able to take on that physicality, to make those plays, to be able to draw fouls and take contact and get up and be able to make those free throws," said Spoelstra.

"It's so settling when you have that type of guy in a really competitive game like this. It allows your other guys, and we're playing young guys, they can just be who they are, they don't have to worry about too much pressure or context.

"They can just be who they are when you have somebody like that that takes on all the pressure for them."

Just like Dwyane

Butler also poured in 40 points against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals – James (2011-12) and Dwyane Wade (2004-05 and 2005-06) are the only other Heat players to have hit that total twice in a single postseason.

There are further parallels between Butler and his fellow Marquette product Wade, too.

Wade scored 42 points in Game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals, which proved to be the first of four straight wins as Miami rallied from 2-0 down to defeat the Dallas Mavericks.

"Obviously this was a very desperate, urgent game and [Butler] was doing it on both ends of the court, just put his imprint on every important part of the game," said Spoelstra.

"He's in the top percentile of this entire association in terms of conditioning and you saw he just got stronger as the game went on.

"But in terms of you saying a Marquette guy … Dwyane swore to us, he looked Pat [Riley] and I dead in the eye and said, 'This is your guy. This is the next guy.'"

Butler will be hoping to emulate Wade and lead the Heat to glory after a stunning Game 3 display.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James hailed Jimmy Butler after fuelling the Miami Heat's 115-104 win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Butler carried the load for the short-handed Heat, posting 40 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as Miami reduced the Lakers' lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series at Walt Disney World Resort on Sunday.

Heat star Butler became the first player with 40-plus points and 12-plus assists in an NBA Finals game since Jerry West in 1969, per Stats Perform.

Butler also joined James (2015) and West (1969) as the only players in NBA history to record a 40-plus point triple-double in the Finals.

"I thought Jimmy was phenomenal," James, who led the underwhelming Lakers with 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, said afterwards. "He did everything that they needed him to do tonight and he came through big time in a big-time game.

"We'll watch film and see ways we can be better going into Game 4. But I thought he was great."

Butler and Lakers superstar James went head-to-head throughout in Orlando, Florida.

There were verbal exchanges between James and Butler, with both heard saying "you're in trouble" in the first and fourth quarters.

Asked if he enjoys playing against Butler, James replied: "Love it. Love it. One of the best competitors we have in our game. We love that opportunity.

"For me personally, I don't know how many more opportunities I'm going to have, so to be able to go against a fierce competitor like that is something I'll look back on when I'm done playing. I'll miss those moments."

The Lakers struggled from the outset, falling behind 22-9 early in the opening quarter as Anthony Davis' headlined their woes.

Davis – scoreless in the opening period – posted five turnovers and four fouls, finishing with just 15 points against the red-hot Heat, while James had eight turnovers as the Lakers tallied 19 overall.

"We know that we can't turn the ball over versus this team," three-time champion James said. "They are very active defensively. It starts with myself, being the starting point guard of the team, having five first-half turnovers, eight total for the game. Can't do that, obviously, because it gives them more possessions and doesn't allow us to set our defense.

"They are really, really good offensively, so you just can't turn the ball over against that team. I take full responsibility for that."

On Davis, James added: "He got into some foul trouble. One of the shots he made when he had four fouls, they still tried to slide underneath him and get him a fifth in the third.

"I think the foul trouble made him a little passive, because he wanted to be out on the floor but he couldn't be his aggressive self offensively and defensively. I think the fouls slowed him down a lot tonight."

Jimmy Butler dismissed his stunning triple-double after inspiring the Miami Heat to a crucial 115-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Without injured pair Bam Adebayo (neck) and Goran Dragic (foot) and trailing 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, Butler led the way by scoring 40 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds on Sunday.

Butler became the first player with 40-plus points and 12-plus assists in an NBA Finals game since Jerry West in 1969, per Stats Perform, as the Heat cut the Lakers' lead to 2-1 at Walt Disney World Resort.

The five-time All-Star also joined LeBron James (2015) and West (1969) as the only players in NBA history to record a 40-plus point triple-double in the Finals, but Butler played down the feat.

"We won," Butler told reporters post-game. "I could care less about a triple-double. We play this game to win.

"I'm glad my team-mates got a lot of trust and faith in me to go out there and hoop like that, but like I always say, you guarantee me a win, I could care less."

Butler added: "Everybody remembers winning, that's it. They don't care how many points you score, they only care if you won or lost. For us we're all about winning. We are. I say it all the time but I mean it. The guys that we have, the group that Coach Pat and Coach Spo put together it's always to win, nothing else.

"So I hope the next game I score zero and y'all talk all you want to talk and we win so I come up here and say the same thing."

"You got to empty the tank on every possession, especially playing against a great team like the Lakers," said Butler, who played 45 minutes for the second game in succession.

"But we got a good team. Like I say, I got the easy job. These guys create so much space for me, I get to shoot it whenever I'm open, pass it whenever I'm not. I really do have the easy job. But none of us, none of us are ever going to leave anything in the tank. We're going to lay it all out there on the floor."

Butler and Lakers superstar James went head-to-head throughout in Orlando, Florida.

James – eyeing his fourth championship – led the Lakers with 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, but he had eight turnovers.

There were verbal exchanges between James and Butler, with both heard saying "you're in trouble" in the first and fourth quarters.

"I mean, that's competition at its finest. I think LeBron has got the best of me way too many times," Butler said.

"I respect the guy for it, but this is a different time now, a different group of guys that I have around me, and we are here to win, we are here to compete. But we're not going to lay down, we're going to fight back in this thing, even it up 2-2."

Pressed on his verbal clash with James, Butler added: "First of all, I'm not just out there talking trash because I'm not. LeBron said that to me at the end of the first, that's what happened. I just said it to him in the fourth quarter.

"And talking about playing damn near perfect, we did a good job of that tonight. We rebounded the basketball, which is what we always talked about. We got back. But I think guys are starting to realise how much we belong on this stage and that we are in The Finals for a reason.

"To tell you the truth, I think when we get these other two guys back, they're going to make everybody's job including mine a lot easier. So I'm excited, but we still got to play better moving forward."

Jimmy Butler produced a remarkable triple-double performance as the injury-hit Miami Heat stayed alive in the NBA Finals with a 115-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Without injured duo Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic and trailing 2-0 in the best-of-seven Finals, the Heat had their backs against the wall amid suggestions they could be swept by the Lakers in Orlando, Florida.

But Butler had other ideas as the five-time All-Star posted 40 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in Game 3 to cut the Lakers' series lead to 2-1 at Walt Disney World Resort on Sunday.

Butler became the first player with 40-plus points and 12-plus assists in an NBA Finals game since Jerry West in 1969, per Stats Perform.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 25 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and as many turnovers, while team-mate Anthony Davis (15 points) struggled following five turnovers and four fouls.

All eyes were on the top-seeded Lakers, with James and Davis looking to deliver a first championship to the storied franchise in 10 years.

But the Heat impressed from the outset as Lakers star Davis struggled in the third showdown.

Miami raced out to a 22-9 lead and eventually ended the opening quarter 26-23 ahead, with Davis scoreless after four turnovers in eight minutes of play.

James tried to keep the Lakers in the contest but Butler stayed hot, his 19 points, six rebounds and six assists ensuring the Heat led 58-54 at half-time.

The Lakers rallied early in the fourth quarter – back-to-back three-pointers from Markieff Morris (19 points) and Rajon Rondo's layup helping to put the Los Angeles franchise ahead 91-89, having started the final period trailing 85-80.

But Butler and the Heat had all the answers as they avoided going down 3-0 – Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk finishing with 17 points apiece, while Duncan Robinson (13) and Jae Crowder (12) made solid contributions.

The Miami Heat will once again be without Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic for Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Adebayo (neck) and Dragic (foot) were forced to miss Friday's Game 2 loss as the Heat fell 2-0 behind the Lakers in the best-of-seven Finals at Walt Disney World Resort. 

The short-handed Heat will take to the court without Adebayo and Dragic after they were unable to prove their fitness for Sunday's showdown in Orlando, Florida. 

The duo suffered the injuries in Game 1 and have not played since. 

"I can see the anguish literally in the eyes, both of them," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "And everybody in the locker room feels it. 

"When you're in the elite percentile of being a competitor in this league, get to this stage and have unfortunate injuries … I know in their soul, they both will do anything to get out there." 

"They've put their heart and soul into this," Spoelstra continued. "We're all feeling it. It's just the most responsible thing to do right now." 

LeBron James and the top-seeded Lakers are two wins away from the franchise's first championship in 10 years. 

Game 4 between the Lakers and Heat is on Tuesday. 

 

Erik Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler insist the Miami Heat still believe they can win the NBA Finals despite falling 2-0 behind to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The optimism around the Heat - the fifth seed in the East - heading into the series was significantly dampened by Game 1 as they let an early lead slip and lost Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo to injury.

Butler also went down but battled on, playing again in Game 2 as the Lakers again came out on top on Friday, 124-114.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis tallied 33 and 32 points respectively and both look to be in the mood to clinch the Lakers' 17th title in double-quick time.

But Miami coach Spoelstra - LeBron's coach as the Heat won the championship in 2012 and 2013 - is adamant his team are not going away.

"We don't give a s*** what everybody else thinks," Spoelstra said. "What will it take? Whatever is necessary. Simple as that.

"If you want something badly enough, you'll figure it out. Our group is stubborn, persistent, and we just need to figure out how to overcome this opponent."

Butler - who had 25 points and 13 assists in Game 2, carrying Miami's hopes in the absence of Dragic and Adebayo - is similarly determined.

"We're never giving up," he said. "We're going to fight, and we're going to ride with this thing until the wheels fall off.

"It's not over. We're just down 0-2; we've got to do something special. We're capable of it.

"I wouldn't want to be in the trenches with any other guys except for the ones that we have. We believe in one another."

Butler added a warning, however: "We've got to play damn near perfect in order to beat those guys. We've yet to do it.

"And if we don't do it soon, it's not going to be pretty."

The Los Angeles Lakers are closing in on their first championship since 2010, but Anthony Davis insisted he is not looking too far ahead following another stellar performance against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

Davis posted 32 points on 15-of-20 shooting from the field as the Lakers defeated the short-handed Heat 124-114 in Game 2 for a commanding 2-0 series lead at Walt Disney World Resort on Friday.

The Lakers star joined Kevin Durant (2012), Michael Jordan (1991), Rick Barry (1967) and Hal Greer (1967) as the only players in NBA Finals history to score 30-plus points in their first two career games in the league's showpiece decider.

Davis – a high-profile recruit from the New Orleans Pelicans at the start of the season – also became the first Lakers player with back-to-back 30-plus point games in the Finals since Kobe Bryant in 2010.

But as the top-seeded Lakers near a first title in a decade, Davis is remaining grounded inside the Orlando bubble.

"It's huge," Davis told reporters when asked how important is it to stay in the moment. "This team [Miami] have shown in both games that they are able to fight back. Even when they are down 20, 30, whatever it is, they are able to fight back and make plays.

"So we can't get too high, especially with this team. They didn't even have two of their top scorers, two of their best players. They always have that next-man-up mentality. They come every night, they play hard, they play physical, they play aggressive.

"We came in tonight and said this is a must-win for us. We're going to come in the next game and say it's a must-win, and the next game it's a must-win and so on and so forth.

"We know what this team is capable of. I think they had four guys or five guys with 15-plus. Guys coming off the bench scoring and playing well. We have to lock in on those guys and show them respect, as well, which we do. But this team can play. We have to be wary of that and make sure we come in and be better in our defensive schemes, which is going to help us win."

Lakers team-mate LeBron James also dominated, finishing with a game-high 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

James and Davis became the first Lakers duo to score at least 32 points in a Finals game since Kobe Bryant – who died in a helicopter crash in January – and Shaquille O'Neal in 2002.

Amid comparisons to Lakers greats Bryant and O'Neal, Davis said: "Those two guys are obviously special. They are a duo that's special together. They are the best duo we've seen. Multiple championships. They both were so dominant.

"I know they had a little sit-down and they were talking about they were arguing because they both wanted to be so dominant, they both wanted to be great and they both wanted to win, and that's why they jelled together outside of everything else that you might have heard that they were going through.

"But you know, those two guys were selfless. They both had a competitive spirit with themselves to will their teams to win. I think me and Bron are the same way.

"We are two guys who want to win no matter the circumstance. We both want to make sure that we do whatever it takes to help our team win. When you have two guys that are selfless ...

"It's not always going to be pretty. Sometimes we are going to argue and have disagreements, but we know it's coming from the right place. When you have two guys who want to win as bad as we do and want to be dominant every single game, you have games like tonight where two guys, we're able to score the basketball and able to rebound and able to find guys.

"It's rare you see it. We know we have something special with us two and this team, and just trying to capitalise on it."

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