NBA Finals Game 3 reaction - Do the Heat have a chance after upsetting the Lakers?

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler shoots against Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) during the fourth quarter of game three of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena.
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon


Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email

We have ourselves a series. Well, we at least have more of a series than we did on Sunday afternoon. As +9.5 underdogs, the Miami Heat stunned the Los Angeles Lakers 115-104 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night to cut their deficit to 2-1.

What looked like a sweep has suddenly become interesting.

How did they do it?

Even at 100 percent, the Heat opened as huge underdogs in this series. They proceeded to lose both Bam Adebayo (neck) and Goran Dragic (foot) during a disastrous Game 1. Neither one returned for either Game 2 or Game 3.

In general, the Heat have been deep but not top-heavy. The Lakers, for example, have by far the two best individual players in this series in the form of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Now, in Miami’s case, almost the complete opposite is true–head coach Erik Spoelstra’s squad looks top-heavy but not deep. With Adebayo and Dragic sidelined, Jimmy Butler rose to the occasion and was the best player on the floor. Butler delivered a 40-point triple-double, also with 13 assists and 11 rebounds in addition to two steals and two blocks. He went 14-for-20 from the floor and 12-for-14 from the charity stripe while logging a game-high 45 minutes.

It is true that Butler and company got some help from L.A. Davis picked up three fouls prior to halftime and incurred a fourth in the third quarter. The result was only 33 minutes of court time, during which he was understandably more tentative than usual. Davis finished with only 15 points on nine shots and was tied with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at game-worst minus-26 (no other player on either team was worse than minus-15).

How far can the comeback go?

Don’t call it a comeback, or do call it a comeback? That is the question.

A depleted Miami club has done extremely well just to take a single game from the high-powered Lakers. There is no pressure on it; lose in five games and this team will still be hailed for its incredible postseason run and its commendable effort against long odds in the NBA Finals. The pressure is all on L.A.

And that’s just the way LeBron wants it. This is a guy who is playing in his 10th NBA Finals and bidding for his fourth title with a third different team. Pressure isn’t a problem. While Butler recorded a triple-double on Sunday, LeBron is almost averaging a triple-double in this series (27.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game). Even without the normal Davis on display in Game 3, the Lakers took the lead with nine minutes remaining after trailing by as many as 14 points midway through the third quarter.

Of course, there is nothing good about a heavy favorite keeping a game close. There are no moral victories in La La Land. The point is simply that the Lakers almost won a game even though Davis was basically absent and Butler went crazy.

We said Lakers in 5 and that is actually looking better than ever at this point. Heading into Game 3, of course, this had sweep written all over it. A sweep is no longer in play, but at the same time this does not necessarily mean that a long series is in the cards. Assuming they treat Game 3 as the wake-up call that it was, Lakers in 5 should end up being right on the money.

Pickswise is the home of free NBA picks and predictions. Check out the latest NBA props and NBA parlays as well as best bets from the experts.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook
Bet $5+ on Lions vs. Packers and Receive $200 in Bonus Bets!

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account

Bet $5 on any sporting event

Receive $200 in Bonus Bets

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. 21+
Bet $1 and Get $365 in Bonus Bets!

Register for a new bet365 account

Place qualifying bets of $1 or more

Get $365 in bonus bets - no matter if your bet wins or loses

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. 21+. Physically present in OH, CO, NJ, VA, IA. Eligibility restrictions apply. Subject to regulatory licensing requirements. Opt-in req. Valid 1 per customer.
Bet $5 on Lions vs. Packers, Get $200 in Bonus Bets Instantly + Up to $150 in No Sweat Bets!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any sports market and get $200 in bonus bets instantly

Plus up to $150 back in bonus bets if your team loses!

Gambling Problem? Call 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (CO/IL/IN/LA/MD/MI/NJ/PA/TN/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS), 888-789-7777/visit (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA). 21+ (18+ WY). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/KS/LA(select parishes)/MD/MI/NJ/NY/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Void in OH/ONT. Eligibility restrictions apply. Valid 1 per new customer. Min. $5 deposit. Min. $5 bet. $200 issued as bonus bets that expire 7 days (168 hours) after being awarded. See terms at
Caesars Sportsbook
$1,000 First Bet on Caesars for Lions vs. Packers!

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account and Place your 1st wager of $10 or more

Place your first wager of $50 or more and get $50 bonus bet upon settlement of your first wager

You will receive an additional $50 bonus bet each subsequent Monday

21+. New users and first wager only. Must register with eligible promo code. Bet amount of qualifying wager returned only if wager is settled as a loss. Min. bet $50; must be used within 14 days of receipt. See for full terms. Void where prohibited. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
Get $1,500 Paid Back in Bonus Bets if you Don't Win Your First Bet on Lions vs. Packers!

Register for a new BetMGM account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,500!

Get refunded up to $1,500 in bonus bets if you don't win

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER CO, IL, IN, LA, MD, MS, NJ, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY, MA 21+ to wager. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Visit for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in DC, Nevada, New York or Ontario
Bet $50, Get $111 in Fred Bets + Up To $1,000 Back!

Sign up for a new account with Betfred Sports and make your first deposit

Place a $50 wager on any sport

Get $111 in Fred Bets + Up To $1,000 Back in Losses over 5 Week!

Must be 21+. T&Cs apply. Wagers only accepted in CO, AZ, IA, OH, VA, MD. Full terms available from Betfred Sports.
Get Up To $1,000 in Second Chance Bets!

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

If any of your first 10 cash bets lose (first bet per day for 10 days)

You will receive Bonus Bet(s) in the amount of the losing wager(s), up to $100 each.

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. 21+. Physically present in. Eligibility restrictions apply. Subject to regulatory licensing requirements. Opt-in req. Valid 1 per customer.
Get up to $500 Back in Bonus Bets if your First Bet Doesn't Win

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code SPORTS

Make your first deposit & and bet up to $500

If your first bet loses, get up to $500 back in bonus bets

Must be 21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF
Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus

Create a new DraftKings Sportsbook account and make your first deposit (min $5)

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.
Underdog Fantasy
First deposit is 100% matched up to $500 with Underdog Fantasy!

Sign up for a new account with Underdog Fantasy

Make your first deposit

Every dollar (up to $500) will be matched! Deposit $25, get $50; deposit $100, get $200, etc

Must be 21+ to play. Terms & conditions apply
By signing up you agree to our terms and privacy policy