Jimmy Butler, the star player of the Miami Heat, introduced us to a new version of himself on Monday: “Spoiler Jimmy Butler.” The Miami Heat seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference. They faced the Milwaukee Bucks, who had won more games than any other team in the regular season.
With just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter and down by 10 points, Butler went on a scoring frenzy. This helped Miami win the game 119-114. Jimmy scored 56 points, setting a new postseason franchise record for the Heat. He also tied for the fourth-most points ever scored in a playoff game.
Butler’s performance was not just about scoring; it was a willful effort to conjure up a victory. In the fourth quarter, the Bucks’ win probability peaked at 98.3 percent, but Butler was the other 1.7 percent. In the last 5:36 of the game, he scored 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting. This included a crucial pull-up jumper and a dunk that shook the Kaseya Center and TV screens worldwide.
Butler’s performance on Monday now has the Bucks on the ropes. FiveThirtyEight’s projection system now gives the Heat an 81 percent chance to advance to the next round. If they do, it will be an underdog story, but history tells us that Butler can flip a series against just about anyone.
Butler’s playoff performances over the last three years have been nothing short of legendary. If Miami advances, he is likely to make more magic. The playoffs are suddenly wide open, with Butler introducing chaos to the pro ranks. Miami may be the spoiler, but Butler and the Heat are not satisfied with just that. They are hungry for another Finals run, and with Butler leading the charge, anything is possible.