Jae Crowder: Lakers' 4-0 Record in Black Mamba Jerseys Was Motivation in Game 5

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo (9) shoots over Miami Heat forward Jae Crowder (99) during the second half in Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Miami Heat forward Jae Crowder said the Los Angeles Lakers' decision to wear the "Black Mamba" uniforms for Game 5 of the 2020 NBA Finals provided extra motivation to stave off elimination.

The Lakers were 4-0 in the playoffs when wearing the jerseys designed by the late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, and Crowder told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes the Heat wanted to end the streak.

"You're hearing how they're putting the black jerseys on and s--t and how they haven't lost a game in those and people start talking about that. That is motivation, and it's always going to get under your skin a little bit," he said. "You obviously funnel that in the right direction and use it as motivation and it definitely helped tonight."

Crowder was also asked about bubble fatigue, having now been in Orlando since late July.

"It's only four days left," he told Haynes. "To throw it all away just because it's at the end and you want to get out of here, it's not worth it. We put a lot of work into this. We're four days away. If we've been here for 90-plus days, you can do five more days."

Miami was pushed to the brink as it watched the Lakers erase an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead midway through the final period.

The Heat fought back, however, and the lead changed hands several times in the final few minutes as James and Jimmy Butler traded points. Late free throws by Butler and Tyler Herro were the difference in the 111-108 win to keep the series alive.

Miami remains the underdog, needing two more victories to complete a monumental comeback and capture the franchise's fourth title, but the Eastern Conference champions took a step in the right direction Friday.

Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.