Jimmy Butler takes on Miami Heat playoff night like (gulp) Dwyane Wade once did – The Denver Post

The last time in the Miami Heat a player took over entire arenas, tilted entire playoff series and mercilessly squeezed opponents at decisive moments, it was a name canonized with a jersey in the rafters.

“Would you ever give Dwyane Wade an open 3 in those moments of truth?” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

That name was there.

‘You wouldn’t, because he’s a murderer,’ said Spoelstra. “Jimmy has many of those same qualities. He will find a way to kill you.”

Jimmy Butler. Jimmy Buckets. “Jimmy Freakin’ Butler,” as Charles Barkley put it on TNT, after the Heat star dropped a 45-point career playoff in the Heat’s Game 2 win against Atlanta.

On a plateau like Dwayne Wade?

‘For me he has many of those same qualities,’ said Spoelstra.

We love the idea of ​​magic in sports. Magic games. Magic runs. Magical seasons. There are also magical names, and none are more magical with the Heat than Wade. So Spoelstra knew what he was doing here. He knew the magic equation he was making, even inspiring Butler to be night after playoff night.

The idea was that, like Wade, Butler was an ass of a three-point shooter until the money was put on the playoff table. Then he was a murderer. Butler, a 22 percent shooter on three-pointers this season, made four-of-seven in Game 2. He carried the Heat.

There’s an idea from the coach of both that, if Butler isn’t Wade – and he isn’t – he can flash like he does on magical nights like this. And he did in Game 2. In Spoelstra’s admiration, you could swallow the carrot to make Butler play more that way. The defense, who played all five positions, was tied on points.

“When it comes to winning, they’ll find a way to kill you,” he said. “Look at a scouting report, look at numbers, but… the next game it could be the free-throw line, it could be offensive, it could be game-changing and, you know, that’s part of his genius.”

Wade’s genius? Butler’s genius? Can we see both in games like this?

This is an ensemble of a Heat roster, each of half a dozen players who can carry the load in one night. Duncan Robinson was the star of Game 1, making eight-of-nine 3-point shots. That caused LeBron James to tweet, “The development of players there is damn good.”

Robinson took no shot in five Game 2 minutes. Gabe Vincent was the cameo star. Max Strus and Caleb Martin had their moments. ‘An organizational victory’, the idea is for the names they have discovered.

Butler is the ultimate organizational victory. The Heat coveted him when three franchises spit him out. He can make them look split and vulnerable, as he did last month in a time-out dust-up with Spoelstra and veteran Udonis Haslem.

“That dark side,” as veteran security guard Kyle Lowry put it, “pushing other people to get better.”

How many can get there? Butler can. That’s why teammates in Chicago, in Minneapolis and Philadelphia had enough of him. So Wade told him Miami was the best fit for his behavior. That’s why, upon his signing with the Heat, Butler said, “When I heard about their culture, I knew I needed that in my life.”

Butler, strange as his manners may be, made the Heat become the Heat again. He took them out of the Hassan Whiteside experiment, beyond the attempts to mold the Dion Waiters and James Johnsons into their hard-working mold. You either fit or you don’t.

Atlanta challenged Butler to beat them in Game 2. Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said how their defense hugged Robinson and Tyler Herro. That left Butler or Lowry to find the clearings. Butler did this evening in a way that concluded the series.

The Heat does not just have a 2-0 lead. They make Atlanta give the loser’s lament.

“If the umpires let them be as physical as they are and don’t get calls, then it’s going to be hard to actually do anything,” said Atlanta star Trae Young.

The question for the Heat remains who they are. A strong team, indeed. A championship team? We will see. Spoelstra dismissed a question about Butler as the stereotypical protagonist, saying, “Everyone is looking for the same conventional box to win a championship. That can be done in many different ways.”

All you know is that there are three Heat players with 45 points, five rebounds and five assists in a playoff game. lebron. Dwayne. Jimmy. That’s magic there. There is still a long way to go these playoffs. But you can already see who will be wearing them.

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