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The Los Angeles Lakers took a commanding 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals by leaning on the thing that has defined their greatness all season: defense. The Lakers not only held the Miami Heat to 96 points, their lowest output of the postseason, but they also did so with a key tactical adjustment, putting Anthony Davis on Jimmy Butler, which shut down the man who torched the Lakers in Game 3.
Let’s take a look at how the Lakers pulled off this critical win and what it means heading into Game 5 on Friday (9 p.m. ET on ABC and the ESPN App).
The Lakers looked inevitable
Davis was the primary defender on 11 shots against Butler on Tuesday, per ESPN tracking, after he defended just four shots from Butler in the first three games of the series. Butler made three of his final 12 attempts, including going 1-for-7 with Davis as his primary defender.
It’s a testament to the Brow’s versatility that head coach Frank Vogel would consider putting him on Butler. Davis is a 7-footer who almost always defends bigs. But Davis is a phenomenal athlete, and