Jimmy Butler, the man who loves country music, and sells coffee for $20 a cup out of his hotel room down at Disney World, has never cared much for popular narratives.
So just when we all thought the NBA Finals were about to be wrapped up, we got another scintillating performance outta Jimmy to remind us of his excellence in the craziest of NBA seasons. Facing elimination Friday, the Heat managed to survive to see at least Game 6 thanks to Butler's second monster game of the series that saw him pour in 35 points on 11-of-19 shooting.
Butler willed Miami past Los Angeles, 111-108, in the most stressful, exhausting competitive, and intense contest of these Finals. LA still leads the series, 3-2, but Butler balling like a madman yet again means we need to take Miami much more seriously
"I left it all out there on the floor along with my guys, and that's how we're going to have to play from here on out," Butler said. "Like I always say, it's win or win for us. But this is the position that we're in. We like it this way. We got two more in a row to get."
If Miami can get one more great game out of Butler, and his supporting cast can step up like it did Friday, then this series could shockingly be headed to a winner-take-all Game 7 when it looked like it would be a cakewalk for the Lakers a few days ago. The Heat rode Butler Friday—just like it did in Game 3 Sunday—and won a dramatic contest despite James having one of the greatest games of his illustrious Finals history.
If the Lakers had won, it obviously would have been LeBron's night. The King went for 40 points on 15-of-21 shooting, including 6-of-9 from deep, adding 13 boards and 7 assists, as he led the Lakers to within one shot of sealing the franchise's 17th championship. But Danny Green's potential game-winning straight-away 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds to go came up short, Markieff Morris turned the ball over after grabbing the offensive rebound, and instead of the Lakers raising the Larry O'Brien Trophy, we get to revel in Butler pulling off the ridiculous. Again.
Game 6 goes down Sunday. You know Butler can't wait.
"I mean, I'm sure they wanted to win, thought they was going to win coming into it. As did we," Butler said. "But it was a hard-fought game, I think it's going to be even harder for us next game, but I like our chances."
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