In Game 3 of the NBA Finals, I might as well have forgotten that Jimmy Butler wasn’t wearing a Bulls jersey. He was just that easy to root for.
In a performance that will go down in NBA Finals history, Butler led the Miami Heat to a 115-104 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers with a 40-point-triple-double. The win only feels more impressive when we take into account the fact that the Heat were down two of their best players in Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic. Oh, and then there is the fact that he was playing LeBron James and Anthony Davis, arguably two of the leagues top-5 players.
What Butler did on Sunday night was the epitome of putting the team on his back. He dished out 13 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds with his 40 points, dominating across the court throughout the entirety of the game. When the final buzzer sounded, Butler officially joined Jerry West and James as the only three players to ever have a 40-point-triple-double in NBA Finals history.
Basically, Butler single-handedly changed this series. After the first two games, as well as the injuries to both Dragic and Adebayo, many assumed we were heading toward a sweep. However, now back only one game, Butler gave the Heat more time to get healthy. Not to mention, he showed he’s more than capable of going toe-to-toe with two of the best talents in the league.
Everything about this performance is what makes Butler such a special player. Not many in the league have the mentality he does, and his natural fight is what made him such a great Bull. Anyway, it’s hard for me to put exactly what Butler did in words right now (I’m still so hyped), so you might as well just re-watch the highlights.
JIMMY DID HIS THING.
40 Pts. 11 Reb. 13 Ast. 14-20 FG. pic.twitter.com/GJ66sCj8vk
— ESPN (@espn) October 5, 2020
And then I’ll let these tweets put the whole thing in perspective …
According to @EliasSports Jimmy Butler scored or assisted on 73 points, tied for the 2nd-most in an NBA Finals game in league history. (Walt Frazier, 74)
Butler is the first player with a 40-point Finals game without attempting a three since Shaquille O'Neal in 2002. pic.twitter.com/mPcQpFrOtU
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 5, 2020
Jimmy Butler had 40 points, 13 assists, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. This is third 40-point triple-double in the NBA Finals as Butler joins Jerry West and LeBron James per @ESPNStatsInfo
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) October 5, 2020
Jimmy Butler is the first player with a 40-point Finals game without attempting a three since Shaquille O'Neal in 2002
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) October 5, 2020