Heat’s Butler Sounds Off on ‘Playoff Jimmy’ After Record-Breaking Performance

Jimmy Butler Heat-Bucks

Getty Jimmy Butler reacts during Game 4 of the Miami Heat's first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Miami Heat have seen their players log a myriad of epic postseason performances over the years. Dwyane Wade’s 42-point, 13-rebound effort during Game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals immediately comes to mind (along with two or three other games from the series). Then there’s LeBron James against the Celtics/Nets, Tim Hardaway in a Game 7 against the Knicks, et al.

However, no one — including himself — ever reached the heights that Jimmy Butler did during Game 4 of Miami’s first-round matchup with the top-seeded Bucks on Monday. In 41 minutes of action, Butler scored a Heat playoff-record 56 points (on 28 shots) and added nine rebounds, two assists and a steal.

In doing so, he helped his team overcome a 14-point fouth-quarter deficit to steal a 119-114 win. As a result, the Heat will take a commanding 3-1 series lead into Game 5 in Milwaukee.

Despite the outburst — and the veritable bonanza of postseason gems he has racked up since joining the South Beach crew in 2019 — Butler insisted after the game that there’s really no difference between what he does during the playoffs and the regular season.

Heat’s Butler Has a Surprising Take on the ‘Playoff Jimmy’ Mythos

Asked postgame whether ‘Playoff Jimmy’ was actually a thing, the six-time All-Star attempted to dismiss his exploits as no big deal.

“It’s not a thing. It’s not,” Butler said with a smirk, via Bally Sports Sun. “I just be hoopin’.”

Clearly, though, Butler’s growing legend — and a lot of the statistics — would indicate that the opposite is true. During the Heat’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2022, Butler averaged 27.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, nearly five boards and 2.1 steals per contest while shooting 50.6% from the field.

Four games into this year’s championship bid, he’s at 36.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.8 SPG and a 62.8% conversion rate.

Ultimately, Butler did confess that this time of year provides him with a platform to state his case for inclusion in the superstar conversation.

“I think this is where all the best players, they just show up and show out. And I’m not saying I’m one of those best players — I just want to be looked at as such. I just go out there and I compete. I want to do everything for my team to win, along with everybody else on this roster,” Butler said.

“I think [Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra] wanted me here for a reason, I feel like this is part of that reason, but the job’s not done. So, we don’t want to get comfortable. We’ve got one more to get.”

Butler’s Big Game Examined From a Greater Historical Perspective

Butler’s Game 4 explosion didn’t just make Heat history, it earned a spot among the greatest postseason scoring efforts in the Association’s annals.

His 56 points tied Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Charles Barkley for the fourth most in any playoff game in NBA history. Only MJ (63 in 1986), Elgin Baylor (61 in 1962) and Donovan Mitchell (57 in 2020) tallied higher totals. And none of the aforementioned attempted as few as Butler’s 28 shots to get there.

‘Playoff Jimmy’ and Co. will attempt to close out their first-round series on Wednesday at Fiserv Forum. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET.