Jimmy Butler may go down as one of the biggest hoodwinkers in the history of the NBA. After seemingly losing steam at multiple points in the regular season, he has stormed his way back into the playoffs. Having already notched a career-best 56 playoff points in Game 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks last round, he’s again led the way in their conference semifinals against the New York Knicks.
In the three games that he’s played against New York, he’s averaging 26.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks to show how valuable he is as a two-way player.
It’s no coincidence that the Heat have won all three games that Butler has played against the Knicks. In another strong Game 4, Butler led Miami in scoring with 27 points, six rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and two blocks.
Butler was always ready to make a big play when the Knicks threatened to come back, which had a lot to do with why New York never had a lead bigger than one point compared to the 11 that Heat led by. Whether it was a big baskets or a big defensive play, Jimmy Buckets was there to provide in the moment.
Basketball is a team sport, of course, so Butler was effusive in his praise teammates, including Bam Adebayo, who had 23 points and 13 rebounds to help their cause. Kyle Lowry also had a productive time off the bench with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal while shooting an efficient 4 of 6 from the field.
Playoff Jimmy has been in this position before and it’s hard to imagine that the Knicks are somehow going to force three-straight wins. The NBA may be a wild place, but it’s hard to bet against the guy who’s been in the Conference Finals twice in the last three seasons. At this point, it looks like he’ll be doing it for the third time in four campaigns.
The Knicks will definitely be smarting from this loss, too, considering that they got a combined 76 points from Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett. Unfortunately, they only got a combined 10 points from their bench, which is was never going to be enough.