Jimmy Butler may say “Playoff Jimmy” isn’t a real thing, but after leading the No. 8 seed Miami Heat to a stunning 4-1 series win over the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, turning in yet another dominant and historic performance, the Heat forward’s postseason heroics are becoming impossible to deny.
Butler helped erase a 14-point Milwaukee lead in Game 4, scoring a franchise-record 56 points to push Miami to victory, and he did it again in Game 5. Down by 16 heading into the fourth quarter, Playoff Jimmy emerged. Butler finished with 42 points, and with 2.1 seconds left in the game and the Heat down 118-116, he hit this ridiculous shot to force overtime:
Butler set a new franchise record, becoming the first Heat player to have multiple back-to-back 40+ point performances in the postseason. After the game, Bucks superstar and former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo expressed regret regarding the way Milwaukee defended Butler.
Giannis on Jimmy Butler: ‘Wish I Could Have Guarded Him More’
In his postgame interview, Giannis was asked whether Milwaukee did enough to adjust defensively where Butler was concerned. “No, we didn’t,” Antetokounmpo answered bluntly. “I think Jrue did his best, but at the end of the day, he gets tired, you know? He’s got to reboiund the ball, he’s got to pass the ball, he’s gotta score … he’s gotta guard Jimmy. Like — you get tired.”
Antetokounmpo acknowledged that perhaps the Bucks should’ve double teamed Butler more and when he was asked if he wished he had covered Butler more, Giannis answered in the affirmative.
“Yes,” he replied. “Out of respect, you gotta let the coach make the adjustment,” Antetokounmpo said. “We have our best defender on him. There were conversations with Jrue. whenever he gets tired, I can take him. He’s so competitive. He plays so hard. He wants to take the challenge. But at the end of the day, I wish I could guard him more.”
“I don’t think as a team we made the right, or we didn’t make as many, adjustments as we could against him,” Giannis added.
Butler’s Supporting Cast Showed Up Big in Game 5 Win
In Game 4, Butler didn’t have near as much help as he did in Miami’s series-sealing Game 5 victory. Behind Butler, Miami’s second-highest scorer was center Bam Adebayo, who had 15 points. Caleb Martin added 12 points of the bench and Gabe Vincent scored 10. No other Heat players scored in double figures. Game 5 was very different.
Adebayo had a triple-double, scoring 20 points while adding 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Vincent scored 22, veteran forward Kevin Love scored 15 and guard Kyle Lowry netted 10 off the bench.
“We just play hard,” Butler said after winning the series, via ESPN. “We know what we’re capable of. We don’t listen to the outside noise, and we will not listen to any outside noise. We’re gonna do what we do.”
“My teammates need me to be that way right now,” Butler also told Fox Sports. “I’m going to continue to be that way right now. It could be 40. It could be 50. It could be zero points and 12 assists. I’ve got to be able to do it all.”
Butler and Miami will now head to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks, who will have their hands full when Playoff Jimmy shows up.