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Butler’s Historic Game Puts #1 Seed Bucks on the Edge of Elimination



Jimmy Butler | Photo Credit:

Jimmy Butler scored a career high 56 points, a franchise playoff record for the Miami Heat. He tied the fourth-best scoring performance in an NBA playoff game and the Heat would rally back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to ultimately defeat the Milwaukee Bucks, 119-114, on Monday night in the Kaseya Center. A Miami victory that has the NBA’s best regular season team in Milwaukee now staring down a potential early exit from the playoffs.

The 14-point fourth quarter comeback was also the Heat’s biggest rally of the 2022-2023 NBA season. Butler set the tone early in this victory, he notched the highest-scoring quarter of his career, with 22 of Miami’s 28 first-quarter points, including 20 in a row over a span of 5:45 minutes late in the first. He would also add 21 of his 56 points in the fourth and final quarter.

“We knew what we were capable of, even if nobody outside of this building, outside of this roster and outside of this organization believed in us, that’s fine. We just want to continue to do what we know is possible,” Jimmy Butler said.

He’s led the way with multiple big performances during this series to put Miami in this position, but none more impressive than his output in game four. He shot an astounding 19-of-28 from the floor (68%), 15-for-18 from the free throw line and grabbed nine boards off the glass.

The only players to score more points in a playoff game – Michael Jordan had 63 in 1986, Elgin Baylor had 61 in 1962 and Donovan Mitchell had 57 in 2020. Butler became the fourth with 56, joining Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Charles Barkley. Barkley even mentioned that it was the greatest individual playoff performances he’s ever seen since he has worked on NBA television broadcasts after his own retirement from the NBA.

“We deserved to win that game, because he (Jimmy Butler) played incredible,” Heat center Bam Adebayo said.

The eighth-seed Heat now lead the playoff series over the first-seed Bucks 3-1, a feat that has only been accomplished four times in NBA history since the playoff format was expanded to 16 teams in 1984.

“The series is still going and we have great respect for the championship DNA that group has,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Longtime NBA veteran Brook Lopez would score 36 points and 11 rebounds for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from a back contusion injury which sidelined him for two-games and recorded a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.

The Bucks will now have to win three consecutive games to advance to the next round. Milwaukee held the lead almost the entire game, that was until the Heat came firing back in the closing minutes of game four. Miami shot an almost perfect 8-for-9 from the floor in the last six minutes, Milwaukee was 4-for-13 during that final stretch and the Heat outscored them 30-13 to close the game.

“We didn’t make enough plays on either end and they did,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

The Heat trailed by as much as 12-points after a layup by Brook Lopez with six minutes remaining in regulation. Miami would spark a 13-0 run from there, highlighted by a Butler fast break dunk coming off of a Bucks turnover. That would give the Heat their first lead all game with 3:17 remaining, at 102-101.

The lead would be exchanged between the two teams four more times for nearly the next two minutes. Butler’s three-pointer with 1:20 left in the game would ice it for Miami and they retained the lead through the final minute. Butler would sink a step-back jumper on Miami’s next possession, punching the air in celebration, and the Miami Heat knew at that moment they were going to leave with yet another crucial victory in the series.

“For 40 minutes of this game, it was frustrating. It just shows you that when you have the right grit and perseverance, you can win, and then it always helps to have a guy like him,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.



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