NBA

Jimmy Butler's legendary performance lifts Miami Heat to season-saving Game 6 victory

By Sports Desk May 27, 2022

Jimmy Butler played the game of his life to lift the Miami Heat to a 111-103 win away from home against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday.

The win keeps the Heat's season alive, tying the series at 3-3, with Game 7 heading back to Miami on Sunday.

Butler had complete control of the game throughout, scoring 21 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and dishing six assists – and that was just in the first half, single-handedly carrying the Heat to a 48-46 lead at the long break.

He went on to finish with a playoff career high of 47 points on 16-of-29 shooting (four-of-eight from three, 11-of-11 free throws) with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals – scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter – as he played 46 minutes, including the entire second half.

Butler was the driving force for the Heat, but they shot the ball well as a team, hitting 15-of-35 three-pointers (42 per cent) as Kyle Lowry and Max Strus hit big shots when they were needed, combining for seven made threes.

Lowry, after a combined 14 points and eight assists in the three contests prior to Game 6 he was healthy for, scored 18 points (five-of-14 from the field, four-of-nine from deep) and dished 10 assists, while Max Strus hit three-of-eight from long range for his 12 points.

Jayson Tatum finished with a strong stat-line, scoring 30 points with nine rebounds, four assists and two steals, but he had seven turnovers, only attempted 12 field goals (nine-of-12), and only scored one field goal in the fourth quarter when the Celtics were desperate for their superstar to impose his will.

Derrick White was arguably the Celtics' best performer, scoring 22 points (seven-of-14 shooting, four-of-seven from three) with five assists and three steals off the bench, while Jaylen Brown was also solid, scoring 20 (six-of-13 shooting) with six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Ultimately, it will be remembered as Butler's greatest performance, attempting more field goals than Brown and Tatum combined, while having the best defense in the NBA entirely focused on him, and delivering efficiently from all areas while the lights shined their brightest.

With his Game 6 showing, he became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1988 to have multiple games in a playoff series with at least 40 points and four steals.

Related items

  • Cavs give Garland $193m extension Cavs give Garland $193m extension

    The Cleveland Cavaliers and guard Darius Garland have agreed to a five-year, $193 million contract extension, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday.  

    The extension is the maximum a player can have added to his rookie contract and could be worth a reported $231m.  

    The deal is the largest in franchise history.  

    Garland scored 21.7 points per game last season and averaged 8.6 assists, helping to guide Cleveland to a resurgence.

    With a 44-38 record, 2021-22 was the Cavs' first winning season without LeBron James since 1997-98.  

    Garland, 22, is now locked into a promising young core that includes 21-year-old Evan Mobley and 24-year-old Jarrett Allen in the frontcourt.

    The Cavs drafted Garland fifth overall in 2019, and the point guard was named to his first All-Star team last season.

  • Golden State Warriors sign free agent Donte DiVincenzo to two-year deal Golden State Warriors sign free agent Donte DiVincenzo to two-year deal

    The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent Donte DiVincenzo to a two-year, $9.3million deal – with the second year being a player option.

    DiVincenzo, 25, was a first-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2018 after winning his second NCAA Championship on the same Villanova team as Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson, earning the Final Four's Most Valuable Player in the 2018 title.

    He found a role immediately with the Bucks, and went on to start in all 66 of his regular season appearances in their championship season in 2021, before getting injured in the first round of the playoffs.

    In that season, he averaged 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 38 per cent from long range, proving himself as a strong complementary piece that can provide above average wing play on both ends of the floor.

    During the Bucks' championship run, Pat Connaughton usurped DiVincenzo's role, with Milwaukee opting to trade him just two months after he returned from his six-month injury layoff.

    While he was never able to truly fit in with the Sacramento Kings after arriving mid-season, he still averaged 18 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.7 steals per 100 possessions in his 25 games off the bench – all career-high marks.

    For the Warriors, DiVincenzo figures to fill important minutes after the departures of both Gary Payton II to the Portland Trail Blazers and Otto Porter Jr to the Toronto Raptors.

  • Jazz trading Gobert to Timberwolves Jazz trading Gobert to Timberwolves

    The Utah Jazz are trading center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday.  

    Utah will receive multiple first-round picks in return for the three-time All-Star, along with Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt and Leandro Bolmaro.  

    ESPN reported that the Timberwolves are sending its 2023, 2025 and 2027 picks unprotected and a top-five protected 2029 pick to Utah.  

    The news comes a day after the Timberwolves and star Karl-Anthony Towns agreed to a four-year, $224million contract extension, giving Minnesota one of the most decorated frontcourts in the NBA.  

    A busy offseason continues for Timberwolves president Tim Connelly, who took over basketball operations this offseason after building the Denver Nuggets into a contender.  

    Gobert led the league last season by grabbing 14.7 rebounds per game. Fellow All-Star Towns ranked 14th at 9.8 rebounds per game.  

    Gobert's departure marks the end of an era for Utah, which peaked in 2020-21 when they secured the West's No. 1 seed but were ousted by the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs.  

    The Jazz went 49-33 last season, losing in the first round to the Dallas Mavericks. The team will now look to rebuild around three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell.  

    Gobert has spent all nine of his NBA seasons in Utah, who drafted him 27th overall in 2013. He has averaged 12.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 611 career games.  

    Minnesota, who ranked 24th in the league last season by allowing 113.3 points per game, immediately projects to be stingier with Gobert, who was named the NBA's top defender three times in four seasons from 2017-2021.  

    Last season, the Timberwolves secured the No. 7 seed in the play-in tournament but fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round in six games.  

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.