Although Butler’s individual performance in this year’s playoffs is outstanding, if it weren’t for his teammates, they would not be where they are today. Many of the Heat were outcasts or nomads before they joined Miami, leading pundits to think the Heat couldn’t make it to the Finals. However, Butler infected them and brought a fearless spirit to the entire team…
Despite losing to Boston Celtics’ Derrick White in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Championship Series, Jimmy Butler showed confidence that he could win Game 7. “This is basketball, but I still believe that when we face challenges together, we will be able to get through obstacles,” he said in a postgame news conference.
The Miami Heat’s playoff journey has been a rollercoaster ride, but the Eastern Conference championship game is definitely the highest mountain before entering the championship game.
Over the past two months, Butler has elevated his game at an incredible level, taking Miami from the fringes of the Eastern Conference playoffs to the NBA Finals and taking a shorthanded team beyond expectations.
Under the Win or go home play-off system, Butler first scored 31 points, defeated his old club Chicago Bulls, and qualified for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. He averaged 38 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in the first round, helping Miami beat the No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks in five games. Next, he led the Heat to a win over the Knicks despite a sprained ankle.
This kind of performance can’t help but remind people of his performance in the Orlando Bubble League in 2020. At that time, he also led the fifth-ranked Heat team all the way to the finals with a similar crazy performance.
The Eastern Conference finals against Boston followed a similar script at the beginning, and despite the gap in strength, the Heat took a 3-0 lead over Sale on the back of Butler’s key performance and the confidence of the rest of the Heat’s players. Team Tik.
Boston, however, turned the tide after a slump in Game 3, the first time Butler showed his mortal side in the entire playoffs. Although he made three clutch free throws in the closing seconds of Game 6 to give Miami the lead, he shot just 5-of-21 from the field and struggled for control in that game. This made some media wonder whether he and the Heat still have enough strength to face the Celtics’ counterattack.
But they succeeded, and they made history as the second team to reach the NBA Finals as the eighth seed.
The bump in the last series gave Butler another chance to do what he does best: exceed expectations. He’s spent his entire basketball career proving others wrong and taking every opportunity to prove himself along the way.
Brad Ball, Butler’s high school coach, said: “That attitude probably comes from being denied all the time, or having other, better players. He often has to prove himself. I think he’s been doing that his entire career.”
Butler has become one of the most indispensable stars in the NBA playoffs, but his career has not been smooth sailing. He was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft, and he developed from a defensive specialist to an All-Star under the tutelage of Tom Thibodeau. Before that, he spent three seasons at Marquette and a year at Taylor Comprehensive, the only Division I college willing to give him a full scholarship at the time.
As Butler became a star player in the NBA, he kept his eyes on his alma mater. In 2015, he reached an agreement with the team. He told the young teenagers what are the benefits of playing at Taylors Comprehensive College, and agreed to the request of Taylors coach Mike Marquis, if they can enter the regional championship finals, He will be involved in the training of the young players.
Sure enough, the team made good on their promise, and Butler kept his promise, returning to practice with the team and participate in warm-up games that summer. But one day, after practice, one of Taylor’s players came up with a challenge.
“One of the guys spammed him in the back of the practice room, and the next day Jimmy took a bunch of subs and beat a draft team,” Marquis said.
While it’s not surprising for an NBA player to shine in college, similar stories abound throughout Butler’s basketball career. Whenever he felt slighted, Butler responded with revenge. In 2018, when he was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, after a preseason contract dispute, Butler returned to training camp, also selected four bench players, and defeated the players including Andrew Wiggins and Karl- With a starting lineup that included Anthony Towns, the story became legend.
In this playoffs, as the Heat fell behind 96-87 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Butler got into an altercation with Celtics forward Grant Williams and then went on a scoring spree that helped the Heat The team leads the series 2-0.
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