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Jimmy Butler adds another signature moment to his Miami Heat tenure in Game 2

Vincent Frank

One of the better two-way players in the NBA, Miami Heat wing Jimmy Butler scored 30-plus points just eight times during the 2021-22 regular season.

Boasting an elite mid-range game and solid defense, the one thing Butler isn’t known for is scoring a ton of points. He has yet to average as much as 24 points in any of his first 11 NBA seasons.

Just don’t tell that to the overmatched Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. With Atlanta looking to overcome a disastrous Game 1 loss, the team played pretty darn good basketball through 3.5 quarters. In fact, it was within three points with just over three minutes remaining after Bogdan Bogdanovic nailed a three.

That’s when Jimmy Butler went into full-scale take over mode, adding to his legacy in South Beach. The six-time All-Star scored seven consecutive points within a two-minute span to give Miami a 10-point lead and a stranglehold on the series. This included a dagger three from Jimmy Buckets with 1:36 remaining.

To put this shot into perspective, Butler hit a total of 27 three-pointers while shooting 23% from distance in 57 regular-season games. He’s shooting a mere 24% from long range in his three seasons with the Heat.

When all was said and done Tuesday evening in South Beach, Butler had recorded a playoff career-high 45 points on 15-of-25 shooting in Miami’s 115-105 win. He also hit 4-of-7 from distance, creating grunts of concern from Eastern Conference rivals in the process.

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Jimmy Butler Game 2 performance has Miami Heat looking like a juggernaut

Miami-Heat-Jimmy-Butler
Oct 25, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) has a conversation with official Dedric Taylor (left) during the second half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Back in Game 1 of their series agianst the Hawks, these Heat won by the score of 115-91. That was primarily due to their ability to lock up star Atlanta guard Trae Young (1-of-12 shooting).

Duncan Robinson (yes, Duncan Robinson) led Miami in scoring with 27 points. For his part, Jimmy Butler scored his regular-season average of 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting.

That Game 1 outing was a prime example of why Miami headed into the 2022 NBA Playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The team is absolutely deep with the likes of Butler, Robinson, Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro able to score 20-plus on a nightly basis. In a game that saw Butler hit his average while second-leading scorer Tyler Herro scored just six points, the Heat were able to come out on top in blowout fashion.

As you can see, Butler has not been great during his playoff career. Said career extends to his previous tenure with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers.

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But since he joined Miami in a sign-and-trade ahead of the 2019-20 season, Butler has taken his performance to a whole new level during the playoffs.

In his first playoff appearance with the Heat in the Orlando Bubble to conclude the COVID-centric 2019-20 campaign, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists on 49% shooting.

He had signature moment after signature moment en route to leading Miami to a shocking NBA Finals appearance against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now, with a much better supporting cast in South Beach, Butler is ready to have that next signature moment with the Heat. And in reality, it could lead to these Heat coming out of the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference. Tuesday’s performance adds another layer to this.

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