Jimmy Butler was waiting for his prey in Miami and pounced on the Boston Celtics as soon as they set foot in his domain. Miami pulled out a formidable comeback against the Celtics in the 2nd half, to breeze past them 118-109, at the FTX Arena. The Heat took a crucial 1-0 lead over 2nd seed Boston, as they continue their campaign in search of a Second Conference Championship in 2 years. Butler was in sizzling hot form as he dropped 41 points, in what was a scoring, playmaking and defensive masterclass by the Miami Heat talisman.
Boston were thriving in the Heat until halftime, then Butler set foot on the court for the 2nd half, steely-eyed, with one mission, destroy, obliterate and overcome. The former Olympic-Gold Medalist cranked it up a notch as he dazzled defenders and shot free-throws with pinpoint accuracy. Jimmy Butler dropped a staggering 41 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in the win, while Tyler Herro added 18 points off the bench for the Heat.
Marching into elite territory, Butler had his 5th playoff game with 40+ points, just behind Dwayne Wade’s franchise record of 7 such games. Joining the Heat in 2019, Butler is gradually reaching his very best with a wide assortment of teammates by his side. Tatum had 21 points in the first half, but finished the game with 29 points while Jaylen Brown added 24 points.
”I continued to play basketball the right way” – Jimmy Butler
The Boston Celtics have been getting lots of praise lately, as some feel they possess the best defense in the NBA. They swept the Brooklyn Nets and knocked out the reigning champions, Milwaukee Bucks, in a jaw-dropping manner at the Game 7 showdown against the Bucks. The odds favored Celtics to not only win the Conference, but cling the NBA trophy. As Michael Jordan would say, ” I took that personally”, so did Jimmy Butler who had had enough of disrespect, reminded people how tough he is and how he likes to challenge opponents.
During the post-game press conference, the physical nature of the game was one aspect with caught his attention.
“I like physicality, Like, I want to run into people and see who falls down first, who is going to quit first. I think that’s the style of basketball I like to play. And so do the Celtics.”
He mentioned one stat here, where he was 0-for-2 from the 3-point line in the game. Adding to that he said :
“I want to go 0-for-0 next game, because I just want to keep banging into people,”
Versatility is a skill, and Butler takes the concept of being able to do multiple things on the court to a new level. His burst both with the ball and into the air has lessened with age. Butler can shoot 3s, although not with great efficiency. He only made 24.4 % of his attempts from beyond the perimeter in the 2019–20 season. In 2020–21, he only made 24.5 %.
This highly acclaimed Celtics defense had done a commendable job on shutting Kevin Durant and marooned Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks, but Jimmy Butler was too good to chain down. Although they were missing their DPOY, Marcus Smart and veteran Al Horford, Butler was impeccable throughout this game, but he really got in the ‘Zone’ in the second half where he put up 27 of his 41 points on the night. He did a lot of his damage at the free-throw line, where he racked up 17 points, as he excelled at baiting several defenders into fouling him with fake pump-shots.
From Rags to Riches’, the story of Jimmy Butler making it to the highest stage in the NBA and finally proving his worth, is quite inspirational. Butler has proven his worth as one of the top players in the modern NBA era and he’s done marvelous things for the Heat this season, and will hope to relinquish his thirst of an NBA Championship this year. It may be too early to tell but if Butler hackles the Celtics defense for the next 4 games, the series might be over soon. Beware of Jimmy Buckets, Boston Celtics !