The Lakers have taken the Finals by the horns and extended their lead to 3-1 over Miami Heat. However, a little uncertainty brewed back in Game 3 after they were brutally defeated by Jimmy Butler. Moreover, Anthony Davis gave away a showdown in that match to add to their misery.
Things turned around in Game 4, where the Lakers made a comeback and posted a tremendous win of 102-96. The key difference between Game 3 and Game 4 was Butler’s performance. Game 3 saw Butler recorded a triple-double with 40 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds.
Game 4 saw a rejuvenated version of Davis with great defensive skills. He was on Butler throughout the game, and that restricted the Heat star to only 22 points. Butler was shooting 8-of-17 from the field that night.
Anthony Davis was extremely frustrated after losing Game 3
Davis took Game 3’s loss very seriously, and he himself asked to defend Butler. “After that game, privately, a frustrated Davis alerted teammates and coaches that he needed to be glued to Butler,” Yahoo Sports reported.
“That’s why he’s the Defensive Player of the Year.”
After Game 3, Anthony Davis told his team he wanted to guard Jimmy Butler, per @ChrisBHaynes. It paid off in Game 4 😤
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 7, 2020
With 24 seconds left for the end-game buzzer in Game 4, Butler went for a layup but got ruthlessly blocked by AD to grant the victory to the Lakers. After this incredible defensive display by Davis, LeBron James dissed Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s DPOY Award by calling Davis worthy of that title. “That’s why he’s (AD) the Defensive Player of the Year,” Bron said.
What did Davis do to lock in Jimmy Butler in Game 4?
Davis took on the challenge of guarding Butler, and he successfully stopped Butler from making the game his own.
“I just tried to be locked into him,” Davis said in the post-game interview. “We know that the past … the last game, he kind of just took over and imposed his will on the game on both ends of the floor, and we just tried to give him a different look. Tried to make him shoot over a contested hand, finishing over the length at the rim. Just make it tough for him. It was very easy for him in Game 3.”
The quality of defense from the big man surely had a lot to do with the Lakers Game 4 victory. Even Butler couldn’t deny AD’s defensive skills after the game and said, “He’s an incredible defender.”