With a heavily improved East, the team that was a No. 1 seed and just centimeters away from another Finals appearance last season was off to a slow start. Clearly lacking the energy and intensity that fulfilled the previous dominance.
Did Jimmy Butler’s confidence ever waver? Absolutely not.
For the second time in three seasons, the Miami Heat have dethroned the title-favored, one-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Both in gentlemanly sweep fashion. Miami became the first play-in team to win a playoff series and the first 8-seed to beat a No. 1 in a long time.
Butler had some of the greatest individual performances in basketball postseason history en route to getting the job done. As he closed out the Bucks on their home floor, there was one thing he was mainly looking forward to through the few days off.
Butler’s extraordinaire 56 points in bringing Miami back down double-digits in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter were an incomparable movie. Rapidly lifting them up 3-1, he was slated for the record books. Butler tied Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Charles Barkley for the fourth-highest point total in playoff history and was just the seventh player to reach that number. His 21-point outburst in the fourth was purely unconscious, to say the least.
It Is Time To Stop Undervaluing Jimmy Butler
Analyzing and comparing his play in the regular season to his illustrious playoff display has become an annual occurrence. Especially due to how opposite they can be with Butler increasingly enhancing his game, this will set the standard in the 2020 bubble.
He informed the world of his eccentric habits and play when it comes to the game’s most crucial moments. The tremendous run came to a halt deep in the Finals for LeBron James and the Lakers.
Jimmy Butler has taken his game to the next level since the 2020 Finals.
Regular Season Averages Since ‘19-20:
21.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.8 steals while shooting 49.5 FG, 26.6 3pt, and 85.3 FT%
Postseason averages since ‘19-20:
25.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.9 steals, while shooting 49.6 FG, 35.3 3pt, and 82.7% FT
In these playoffs, he is clearly in a stratosphere of his own. Butler has been leading all statistical categories, putting up 37.6 points in these playoffs. To go with his six assists and 4.8 boards, Butler has shot a true-shooting percentage over 70% to lead all players. Helps speak for the best player this postseason. A loud emphasis on his shooting improvements each time spring comes around as well.
Time and time again, mainly since the bubble, every Butler regular season we look to critique Scratch our heads seeking comparison to other stars, his greatness, or his imaginary timeline of when he likes to raise his game. A harsh example is the Heat’s play-in finish and Jimmy not being selected to this year’s All-Star game. Like his 3P%, that ultimately goes from a glaring high teens-twenties to Ray Allen status for around a 10% upgrade come April and May.
The thing is, like Bill Simmons’ “zombie” reference to the Heat, they know what it takes to make a run. They know what it takes to win. Eric Spoelstra and Pat Riley’s royalty and traditionary standards prioritize rest, management, and health nurturing in the direction of win or go home. It is simplified with a portion of the roster being up in age, with some figures having championship pedigree, which the organization drapes itself with.
Even without one of the team’s top scorers, Tyler Herro. After Butler’s hunting of the Bucks, he had to remind the press how Miami has always known internally that they could beat anyone. No matter what the circumstance, everyone continues to doubt.
Butler will resume sending those reminders. Embodying heat culture as they both never go away Sure, they may not be the same club as last year, as exhibited throughout the season, but Miami will go as far as Butler spiritually takes them and their battle-tested core.
History tells us that any powerful barrier is no match for Butler and his freakish out-of-body experiences. May we never forget about Jimmy when it comes to not only the totem pole of the best players in the league but greatness itself.