Butler, Nunn lead Heat past depleted Lakers 96-94 in NBA Finals rematch
LOS ANGELES — Kendrick Nunn scored 27 points, Jimmy Butler had 24 points and eight rebounds, and the Miami Heat held off the Los Angeles Lakers 96-94 Saturday night in an NBA Finals rematch.
Bam Adebayo had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat in the teams’ first meeting since the Lakers won their 17th championship with a six-game victory over Miami in the Florida bubble four months ago.
LeBron James had 19 points, nine assists and nine rebounds as the defending NBA champions lost their second straight game without starters Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder.
James stole the Heat’s inbounds pass with 8.4 seconds left to create one last chance for the Lakers, but the 17-time All-Star passed off to Alex Caruso, who missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Heat scored only 15 points in the fourth quarter and barely held off Los Angeles down the stretch for their second straight win after a three-game skid during their seven-game road trip.
Los Angeles also lost back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 27-28, falling to East contenders Brooklyn and Miami at Staples Center.
Davis missed his third straight game after aggravating his strained right calf last weekend, and Schroder missed his second straight under the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Kyle Kuzma scored 23 points while hitting four 3-pointers, and Montrezl Harrell had 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Lakers took their third loss in 11 games.
Kuzma’s three-point play with 1:28 left trimmed Miami’s lead to 94-92, but after Duncan Robinson fouled out on an offensive foul with 25 seconds left, Wesley Matthews missed a rushed, off-balance 3-pointer with 15 seconds to play.
Goran Dragic missed his eighth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
Schroder will miss at least two more games in quarantine, coach Frank Vogel said. The Lakers hope he’ll return Friday against Portland.