Jimmy Butler is the talk of the NBA right now, thanks to a consistent string of elite-level performances for the Miami Heat.
Butler, 32, has continued to evolve his game throughout his career and is now one of the most complete wings the NBA has to offer. We often hear the term ‘two-way wing’ thrown around in discussions, but Butler is the prototype.
At six-foot-seven, Butler has the size, speed, and power to be an effective weapon on both sides of the floor and is using his unique blend of physical attributes to help power the Heat towards their second NBA finals in three years.
With only four teams remaining in the post-season, talk has now begun to center around which remaining team has the most in-form player on their roster, and according to Patrick Beverley, Butler’s recent performances place him atop of that list.
“The last couple of days, I went with Luka (Doncic). But you’re talking about a two-way player, a player that plays offense and defense, you have to go with Jimmy right now. He’s proven, he’s leading them (Miami), they’re the number one team in the conference, so you’ve gotta go with Jimmy right now,” Beverley told Keyshawn, JWill, and Max.
Butler Dominates Opening Game Against Celtics
As the Heat began their Eastern Conference Finals battle against the Boston Celtics, Butler came alive, cooking his opponents with 41 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals, and three blocks on 63.2% shooting from the field.
Despite losing three-quarters of basketball, Butler found a way to will his team into a big lead, courtesy of a nightmare third quarter from the Celtics, and the Heat never looked back. Now, the Heat have the momentum heading into game two on Thursday, May 19, and will be looking to make it two victories in a row, heaping the pressure onto the Celtics.
“I know what I’m capable of; I don’t do this to score 40 points. I play the way I play to win by all means necessary, and it just so happened that I scored 40. If I score 40 and lose, I’ll be pretty p***** off,” Butler told reporters following his dominant performance.
As a side note: Jayson Tatum came out of the gates strong on May 17 but faded as the game went on, but Butler can be sure that he’s about to enter into a scoring battle with one of the NBA’s rising stars; luckily, the Heat star has never been one to shy away from a fight.
Celtics Gets Boost Heading Into Game Two
Shortly before game one tipped off, the Celtics announced they would be without Marcus Smart and Al Horford for the first game of the series, but on Wednesday, May 18, reports began to surface that the Celtics would likely have their star guard available for game two.
Smart is the Defensive Player of the Year and will primarily be tasked with limiting Butler’s impact, ensuring he doesn’t have another dominant performance, especially so soon after smoking Boston’s defense.
Butler and Smart are very similar in a lot of ways, meaning we should be in for an exciting battle between two gladiators that leave everything on the floor for their teams. However, Butler has been borderline unstoppable since the post-season began, so a banged-up Smart will need to bring his A-Game from the opening tip, otherwise Thursday might be another big night for Butler and the Heat.