OUR GUY~! Jimmy Butler threw in a playoff career high 40 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter and 11 in the final five minutes, as his Miami Heat squad outlasted the top seeded Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series on Monday.
Would you like to hear the list of players who have ever in history scored 40 or more points in a playoff game for Miami?
Here’s the list:
That’s it. That’s the list.
For two-thirds of this game, it seemed perhaps like it was tilting towards a #1 seed beating a #5 seed in the first game of the series. After an early flurry from the Heat, Milwaukee took over in the first quarter, closing out the period on a 9-2 run in the final 2:40 to lead 40-29. That 11 point lead would turn out to be the largest advantage of the game for Milwaukee, but they did have the lead for the entirety of the second quarter and were up 63-60 at the half.
A triple from Butler at the 7:20 mark of the third quarter gave Miami their first tie with the Bucks since the first quarter, but the Heat couldn’t get over the hump for a while. It wasn’t until — you guessed it — Butler drained two freebies with 2:59 to go in the period that Miami was able to take a lead, in this case 80-78. By quarter’s end, the Heat’s lead was up to 92-86, and it looked like we were going to get one heck of a closing quarter in this playoff game.
Milwaukee began to push back to give us that great closing quarter, and Giannis Antetokounmpo put the Bucks back out in front, 96-95, on a layup with 6:04 to go.
It would be Milwaukee’s final lead of the game.
Butler answered with a floater 14 seconds later to put Miami back in the lead, and as it turns out, it was a lead that they would never surrender. Butler’s bucket started off a 20-8 closing drive for the Heat, and if you wanted to look at it in a way that brings more consternation for Bucks’ fans, you could call it a 16-6 run after a Khris Middleton stepback with 4:47 to go got Milwaukee within one.
As you can see, that’s inside the final five minutes, and yes, 11 of those 16 points came from the hands of Jimmy Butler. It was electrifying as a neutral Marquette fan in this game to watch the former MU star close a game like this, and I can’t imagine how gutwrenching it felt for Marquette/Bucks combo fans.
Butler added four rebounds, two assists, and two steals to his evening for a very nice all-around performance. Teammate Jae Crowder had nine points, all on long range bombs, to go with nine rebounds as well. Wesley Matthews, the former MU guy on the other side of the result, contributed seven points and a rebound to Milwaukee’s output in 23 minutes of action. There’s a question to be asked if Matthews should have been playing more in this game for defensive reasons.
How about three minutes of just Jimmy Butler highlights?
Up Next: Milwaukee will try to even out this series on Wednesday night. Game 2 is set to tipoff at 5:30pm Central time, and ESPN will have the broadcast. We’ll see if ESPN will adhere more to that listed start time than TNT did on Monday.