Bucks vs Heat: Jimmy Butler proves he's Miami's man as his 40-point game sees his side go 1-0 over Milwaukee
It wasn't supposed to be a Heat win. But try telling that to Jimmy Butler as he had a different opinion. He ended the day with a playoff-career-high 40 points as Miami beat Milwaukee 115-104. All eyes were on Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Butler served it hot as he notched up a great game that also included 13-20 FG and 12-13 FT. For the Bucks, Antetokounmpo scored 24 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, and was supported by 28 points from Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez chipping in with 24.
The biggest question raging on the Internet was if Butler can replicate Monday's success for the Heat. Safe to say, he's already answered the question by making a statement in the opener itself. Butler was adept at reading the Bucks gameplan. He was instrumental when they ousted the Indiana Pacers in their first-round playoffs. With the 40-point feat, he joined Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to become the only players to score 40 points in a playoff game. Twitter was already weighing on their thoughts by the end of the game.
Hey #76ers, still think letting Jimmy Butler walk was smart?— Nigel Cornelius (@NigelCornelius) September 1, 2020
For Butler, his highest before a Heat jersey was 38 points which he bested on Monday, August 31. Prior to that was 36 for the Philadelphia 76ers last year. It was the clinical Butler the world was used to seeing when he turned it with a stellar second half. And when Miami needed him to fire the most, he did with a slick three-pointer in the fourth quarter. He found the basket continually in the final quarter even as Bucks searched for answers. Such was his impact that a fan dissected the game: "Jimmy Butler's best game ever. Poor performance by Giannis. Bad coaching by Bud. Putrid shooting at the FT line. Lacking performance by Milwaukee in the final 3 quarters all together. Heat came prepared. Milwaukee needs to (and absolutely can) bounce back. #FearTheDeer"
Jimmy Butler's best game ever.— Lucas D Fredeski (@luclalaus) September 1, 2020
Poor performance by Giannis.
Bad coaching by Bud.
Putrid shooting at the FT line.
Lacking performance by Milwaukee in the final 3 quarters all together.
Heat came prepared. Milwaukee needs to (and absolutely can) bounce back.#FearTheDeer
"For me, I do what my coaches need me to do and what my teammates need me to do," Butler said. "... I really like to get my teammates involved. I think we all did a great job of that," Butler said and by the looks of it, their idea is to contain Antetokounmpo. Their defense has been their best bet and they stuck to their plans. As far as answering the question about consistency goes, Butler can look no beyond than Jazz's Donovan Mitchell and Nuggets' Jamal Murray for inspiration. Plus, Butler's experience over the years holds him in good stead as he's one of the players where situations like these are tailor-made for him to sizzle. Should he be able to replicate the performance for another couple of games, the Bucks will have more than Butler to worry about.
The two will meet again on Wednesday, September 2.