Jimmy Butler played down talk of ‘Playoff Jimmy’ after his 56-point performance.
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Jimmy Butler took his ‘Playoff Jimmy’ moniker to new heights on Monday as he scored a franchise playoff record 56 points to lead the Miami Heat to a stunning comeback win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, the Heat roared back – led by the rampant Butler – in front of a raucous home crowd to take a 3-1 series lead and put the No. 1 seeded Bucks on the brink of an early elimination.
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When asked about his ‘Playoff Jimmy’ nickname, which has stuck due to Butler consistently elevating his performances once the postseason arrives, the 33-year-old insisted “it’s not a thing.”
“It’s not. I just be hooping,” he added.
Butler also added nine rebounds, two assists and a block to his 19-for-28 masterpiece, with his 56 points a new personal career high – regular or postseason – and the fourth-highest scoring performance in NBA playoff history.
Butler has gone from averaging 22.9 points during the regular season to 36.5 points in the Heat’s four playoff games so far.
“I love the competitive aspect of [the playoffs],” Butler said, per ESPN. “This is where all the best players … show up and they show out. I’m not saying I’m one of those best players; I just want to be looked at as such.
Jimmy Butler has led the Miami Heat to a commanding 3-1 series lead.
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“I want to do everything for my team to win, along with everybody on this roster. I think [team president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra] wanted me here for a reason. I feel like this is part of that reason.”
After finishing last season as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Heat struggled to find any consistency this year and finished as the eighth seed.
Miami needed two play-in games to even reach the playoffs this season, first losing to the Atlanta Hawks before beating the Chicago Bulls to clinch the final playoff spot.
The Heat is also shorthanded for this playoff series, in particular in the backcourt, after losing last year’s Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro to injury in Game One and Victor Oladipo in Game Three.
Butler has shouldered the burden of an increased workload remarkably and his 56 points have only previously been bettered in the playoffs by Elgin Baylor, Michael Jordan and Donovan Mitchell.
Butler’s points total was the fourth-highest in NBA playoff history.
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In the last five minutes of Monday’s game, per ESPN, Butler alone outscored the Bucks 13-8.
The series returns to Milwaukee for Game Five where the Bucks will be hoping to avoid the ignominy of being a No. 1 seed eliminated by the eight seed.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo now available after missing Game Three with a knee injury, the Bucks will still believe they can turn this around, but it will be a tall order even for the the 28-year-old forward’s considerable abilities.