Jimmy Butler did two things differently in the Miami Heat’s thrilling 98-88 win on Monday night. The first one earned him style points as he tweaked his wardrobe ever so slightly.
Butler took the floor wearing a form-fitting black sleeve on his left arm, matching a look made famous by teammates Andre Iguodala, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro. Butler finished with a game-high 27 points while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out six assists. His performance helped snap a brutal six-game losing streak for the Heat.
It had to be the sleeve, right? After the game, Butler was asked if he planned to stick with the new look moving forward.
“I don’t know,” Butler said. “I made some shots with my left hand which definitely doesn’t happen often and it was Goran [Dragic] getting out into the open floor and more than anything, it was having fun. Just to keep doing what we’ve been doing — getting into the paint, finishing when you can, getting to the free-throw line and hitting our shooters.”
“You never see Jimmy shoot two left-handed scoops,” Adebayo said, referring to two left-handed layups Butler made. “Yeah, he should keep it.”
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Closing Time in the Third Quarter
The other thing Butler did differently on Monday night was turn on the after-burners in the third quarter. The Heat star normally waits until the fourth quarter to close out games. But Butler couldn’t had to put on the Superman cape earlier after watching a 15-point lead vanish into a seven-point lead for the New York Knicks at halftime.
“Jimmy really just broke free in semi-transition to get going to start that third quarter and then we got some momentum,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think once he was able to get us the lead again then other guys started feeling a lot more comfortable, our three-point shooters got going.”
Duncan Robinson exploded for 14 points (4-of-9 from deep) and Tyler Herro scored 18 points (4-of-9 from deep). Butler’s spacing helped get those guys open for clean looks. He also had a viral moment with a young Knicks fan on the baseline.
“Winning is what we want to do,” Butler said. “Losing is always hard. It is never fun but to start a winning streak you do have to win one and hopefully this is that one.”
Adebayo Checks All Competitive Boxes
The second quarter could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for Adebayo’s efforts, especially on the defensive end versus Julius Randle. He and Butler made a concerted effort to put the onus on themselves at halftime.
“I got it going in the second and he got it going in the third and we were warm in the fourth,” Adebayo said. “We all fed off each other.”
Adebayo finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. His chemistry on the pick-and-roll with Butler keeps getting better and Spoelstra kept feeding the big man on isolation plays late in the contest.
“Basketball is played and you win games in so many different facets and in so many different ways,” Spoelstra said. “Bam checks so many of those winning categories. There were so many different areas where he affected the game.”
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