Jimmy Butler Is That Dude

Heat 115 Bucks 104

Jim Rome
September 01, 2020 - 10:13 am
Jimmy Butler

USA Today

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Jimmy Butler is that dude. And dude is allll dawg. And I mean that in the best way possible...  That is just a statement of fact. And that was fully on display in Miami’s 115-104 win over Milwaukee in Game 1 last night. And I’m not talking about Butler’s playoff-career high 40 points. Or the fact that he’s just the third player in Miami history with a 40-point playoff game joining Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Is that any good?  You know it is. But in case you didn’t. Or didn’t know this is a dude…or what this dude is about. None other than Dwan-yay himself. Is here to help:

As Wade tweeted last night: Hello everyone. If you haven’t met Playoff Jimmy. You’re welcome!

Well, said Dwan-yay….because Playoff Jimmy was in the building last night. And he was dominating. Playoff Jimmy was Jimmy Buckets.

He had it all going on. Here he is from deep.

Here’s the drive and finish.

And while we’re at it, here’s a slick pull up.

And yet, as big as the points were, Butler was so much bigger than that. Because he was and is so much more than just scoring the ball. He and the Heat made things miserable for the Bucks. I mean legitimately miserable. Especially late. The Bucks were living their WORST BASKETBALL LIFE in the fourth quarter when it mattered most.

Giannis turned it over six times last night. They harassed every time he touched it. Hell, the guy went 4 for 12 from the line where no one bothered him. That’s arguably the best player in the game, having the worst performance by anyone with 12 free throw attempts in a playoff game in years.

But worse than all of that, he only had 12 shots. He is the freakiest guy in the league and the Heat held him to just 12 shots in a playoff game. That is nearly impossible. They literally erased the Greek freak. 

I’ll go one step further and this is not to diminish Giannis, but if you watched that game and had to say who the best player on the floor was, if you had to identify the likely back-to-back league MVP based on last night, you’d say it was Jimmy Butler III.

Because that was an MVP caliber performance. And his team knew it. As he said afterwards, one player after another told him to just go win the game.

This dude simply was not going to let his team lose. And once he decided that, he also decided , so: I’m not passing the ball.

On paper, Miami, the fifth seed, beating the Bucks, the number one seed and the team with the best record in the league, should be seen as an upset, but I’m not sure it is.   Sure, it’s just one game and I guarantee Milwaukee will make the proper adjustments and bounce back. They’re way too talented and too well coached not to. But make no mistake, this is a street fight: a backyard brawl. And dudes are reach for and looking to weaponized anything they can. Especially the Heat.

There is a reason why the Miami Heat are a chic pick to win that series and that reason is the games are not played on paper. They are played on the court. And on the court, the Miami Heat are tough as hell.

It’s no secret that Jimmy Butler is on his fourth team in four years. He’s been traded by Chicago and Minnesota, and Philly didn’t pursue him hard in free agency.  No, he’s not the easiest guy to be around.  But those weren’t the best teams to play for either. 

In fact, I’ll say it right now – none of the previous teams have been a good fit for Butler, certainly not as good a fit as Butler and Miami. That is the perfect marriage. I’m not sure there is a better fit for Butler anywhere. Hell, I’m not sure there’s a better fit between any player and any team than Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.

As Erik Spoelstra said: "He just fits everything about us, our fabric and who we are. These are extreme circumstances, they're not easy for anybody. And you need a level of discipline, of structure, and camaraderie. Jimmy, despite what, probably, the narrative is out there, he's a very likable guy in the locker room, and I think that helps in a setting like this."

Coaches and front offices love to talk about culture all the time, but what the Heat have done in the bubble has been all about culture. That starts with one of the all-time great winners in Pat Riley, a great coach in Spoelstra, and a collection of players who fit together so well.

And don’t get this twisted. Even though the fourth quarter was all Playoff Jimmy, this isn’t just Jimmy Butler and some scrubs This is Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo going for 12 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 assists. And Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder and Duncan Robinson and the list goes on.

The Miami Heat know who the hell they are and the price they have to pay to win. And they’re willing to pay that price. 

When Butler was showing up to preseason workouts at 4am, teammates joined him. And then started showing up at 3:30am. That is the Jimmy Butler Way and it is the Pat Riley Way. You could not find a more Pat Riley guy than Jimmy Butler. It's crazy how similar they are and what a great fit that is.

And Riles was in the building last night. He attended his first bubble game last night and you know he had to be pumped. You could see it in the way Butler saluted Riley as the Heat walked off the floor.

Sam Amick reported that Butler shouted “appreciate you” to Riley and the legend responded “You’re making my dreams…”

Playoff Jimmy, making Riley’s dreams and PROVIDING NIGHTMARE FUEL FOR THE BUCKS: because Jimmy Butler is a bad, bad man and it’s contagious and rubbing off on everyone around him.