Struggling the last three games with a sore knee, it was unclear what Jimmy Butler could bring to Game 6 in Boston. But at the same time, we knew he had to be huge enough for his Miami team to have a chance of surviving the series. And guess what, he was. No, correction: it wasn’t huge, it was gigantic!
19 points at 7/32 shooting, including 1/7 from 3-pointers, and 5 assists. Here are Jimmy Butler’s numbers for Games 4 and 5 of the series, both lost to Miami. Clearly, Jimmy wasn’t himself and his ability to carry the Heat into an elimination game was doubted, particularly because of his knee. Shame on us. Because what Butler has just achieved in Game 6 in Boston is the kind of performance that remains engraved in the history of the Playoffs. 47 points (personal record in Playoffs), 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, 1 against, only 1 loss of ball, all at 16/29 shooting, 4/8 from the parking lot, 11/11 in free throws in … 46 minutes of play! Great performances in the Playoffs, we see them every year. Perks like that one ? It is simply to be placed in the all-time category. Just ten years ago, LeBron James played perhaps his best career game saving the Heat in Game 6 in Boston, tonight we were treated to the Jimmy Buckets version and it was just as impressive. Because in addition to the figures, it is obviously the context in which this service was performed that makes it absolutely exceptional. We were talking about his knee sores, well, we had to grit our teeth to carry the Heat from start to finish in the hostile environment of TD Garden. And not only did Jimmy do it all in the Celtics’ lair, but also against an elite defense that mistreated Kevin Durant in the first round of the Playoffs while making it difficult for Giannis Antetokounmpo in the second. Without the support of Tyler Herro we remember him, and with a Bam Adebayo once again very discreet in attack. Thanks to its leader, the Heat today have an unexpected opportunity to grab a place in the NBA Finals on Sunday night during a Game 7 at home.
During the 2020 Playoffs, when Miami was just two wins away from a title, Jimmy Butler had already shown his ability to pull off all-time performances in important moments to carry his Miami team, even when Erik Spoelstra’s band seemed on the edge of a precipice. But with the context of the bubble, these performances could not necessarily be appreciated at their fair value. But this Game 6 in Boston, it will remain as the match where Jimmy Butler truly reached the heights. He set the tone from the start by being absolutely everywhere on both sides of the field, he first scored by being aggressive but also put his friends in the right conditions, he played practically the whole match (he is not didn’t come out of the whole second half), and it was still him who made the difference in the money time with an and-one at 99-99 and a huge dagger at the end of the 24 clock in the last minute of the game (after twisting his ankle, please). Clearly, there are absolutely all the necessary ingredients for a performance with the potential to define a career. Especially if the Heat wins the East behind, or even the NBA title.
“I had to find a way for us to win. I let my team down for two games, it couldn’t happen again. »
– Jimmy Butler, after the game
Jimmy Butler is now four games to 40 games in these 2022 Playoffs (franchise record on a PO campaign), and has just made people forget his last outings where he was clearly not the Jimmy Butler we know. Will Miami manage to snatch the seventh game after this masterclass of its franchise player? Maybe. Maybe not. But no matter what happens, we will never forget this Game 6.
A performance for the ages. pic.twitter.com/MSgGQHsa0T
— NBA (@NBA) May 28, 2022