Jimmy Butler scored 56 points to lead the Miami Heat to a surprising comeback victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, putting the Eastern Conference’s top seed on the verge of elimination.
He started the game with a 22-point first quarter that featured a 20-point run by the Heat. He concluded with a 21-point fourth quarter to help Miami return from a 12-point deficit and win 119-114.
The victory gave the eighth-seeded Heat a 3-1 series lead against a Bucks club that concluded the regular season with the best record in the NBA. They won in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s return to the court after a two-plus game layoff due to a back contusion.
Antetokounmpo appeared unaffected by his injury, posting a triple-double and displaying the form that has earned him a two-time league MVP award. It wasn’t enough to overcome a tenacious Jimmy Butler, who continued to carry the Heat on his back, this time with a career-high scoring performance.
Jimmy Butler Dunks and Out Dunks Giannis in a Blazing First Quarter
Antetokounmpo set the tone early by scoring seven of Milwaukee’s first 10 points, giving the Bucks a 10-3 lead. But Butler gave a very clear answer. In the middle of the first quarter, with his team down 17-8, the six-time All-Star immediately challenged Antetokounmpo and dunked on the five-time All-Defensive Team member.
As a result of the dunk, Jimmy Butler scored 20 straight Heat points, contributing 22 of Miami’s 28 points in the first period on 9 of 10 shooting from the field, including two 3-pointers made.
Milwaukee Dominated for Most of the Game
But the Heat, who had the 25th-best offensive rating in the league, were playing without Victor Oladipo and Tyler Herro, their second-leading scorer. They needed help supporting their six-time All-Star against the fourth-ranked defense in the league.
Despite Butler’s heroics, the Bucks lead by five after the first quarter. They went into the break with a 57-50 advantage. With two points in the second, Butler slowed down. Bam Adebayo, a two-time All-Star center, scored just two points during the first half on 1-of-4 shooting. By halftime, only six Heat players had scored.
After three quarters, Milwaukee increased their advantage to 89-78 and looked to be cruising to a crucial victory that would square the series at 2-2. Jimmy Butler, however, had other plans.
Jimmy Butler Comes off the Bench for a Tremendous 4th Quarter
Miami Heat’s Butler sat on the bench to start the fourth quarter to get some rest before the last stretch. He returned to the game with 8:11 left and Milwaukee up 98-87. From there, 21 of his 56 points would come.
With 6:09 left in the game, the Bucks had a 101-89 lead and were up by as many as 12 points. But the Heat returned with 13 unanswered points by turning the Bucks’ missed shots and mistakes into a transition attack.
Jimmy Butler’s teammates joined in on what was going on during the run. After Duncan Robinson stole the ball, Butler made a jump shot on the break. Caleb Martin made two free throws after Kyle Lowry blocked Jrue Holiday. Then, Bam Adebayo stole the ball at midcourt, which opened the way for Jimmy Butler to dunk and give the Heat their first lead of the game, 102-101. The home crowd in Miami went crazy when the slam was made.
From then, the lead switched hands five times in the last 3 minutes and 17 seconds of regulation time as the Heat and Bucks swapped baskets. With 1:10 left, the Heat took a 110-109 lead for good on a Jimmy Butler pull-up 3 from the top of the key.
Miami increased their advantage to 116-109 with 32.7 seconds remaining, holding off a desperate Bucks push in the last half minute.
Butler Leaves His Imprint on Heat and NBA History
Jimmy Butler’s final remark will go down in history. He ended the game with 56 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 blocked shot. He made 19 of 28 field goals, 3 of 8 three-pointers, and 15 of 18 free throws. His 56 points in the postseason are the most in Heat history. It was not done by LeBron James. Dwyane Wade did not commit the crime. Shaquille O’Neal did not commit the crime.
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