The eighth-seeded Miami Heat limped into postseason play this season after narrowly missing the NBA finals a year ago. They survived the NBA’s play-in tournament before losing key scorer Tyler Herro to a series-ending injury in Game 1 in Milwaukee. Nobody really gave the Heat a chance to beat the top-seeded Bucks in the first round.
Photo Cred: Milwaukee State Journal
Perennial MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo missed games three and four for the Bucks due to a back injury, which helped Miami take a 2-1 series lead. When it was announced that Giannis would return for Game 4 in Miami, it was crucial that the Heat defended their home floor to avoid a 2-2 series going back to Milwaukee which would greatly favor the Bucks Enter Jimmy Butler. The 6 ‘7 wing delivered a performance for the ages, scoring 56 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter overcoming an Antetokounmpo triple-double and giving his team a 3-1 series lead. No Heat player has ever scored more points in a postseason game.
Photo Cred: Fox News
Butler is no stranger to putting on massive performances in crucial playoff games. This is the seventh time Butler has scored 40 points or more in a playoff game since joining the Miami Heat in 2019. During his time in Miami, Butler has led the Heat to two Eastern Conference Finals appearances and one NBA Finals appearance. Despite the Heat being marginal underdogs in this series with Milwaukee, the Houston native has given Heat fans hope that Butler has another upset up his sleeve.
Photo Cred: CNN
Milwaukee led Game 4 after three quarters. Their lead grew to 14 points early in the fourth. After the Heat trailed 101-91 with 5:30 left in the game, Butler and Caleb Martin combined to score the next 23 Heat points. The main highlight of Butler’s stellar performance came when he drilled a three-pointer with 1:20 left to give the Heat a 110-109 lead. After an Antetokounmpo miss, Butler came down the court and hit another contested jump shot to expand their lead to three with 58 seconds left to play.
Butler then added some clutch late-game free throw shooting to ensure Miami’s victory. His game 4 performance was eerily like his 47-point showing in Game 6 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals. He then forced a Game 7 against Boston. Over the last three years, he has proven that he can will his team to victory nearly single-handedly at times.
Photo Cred: WPTV
“I’m just hoping, playing basketball the right way, taking the shots that the defense gives me.” Butler said after the game. He also said he looks forward to playing on the road in Milwaukee in Game 5. “That’s where championships are won, and we got a shot.” Game 5 between the Heat and Bucks will be played on Wednesday at 9:30 EST. Butler and the Heat look to advance while the Bucks will do anything to send the series back to Miami.