Jimmy Butler has 56 to lead Heat comeback, put Bucks on brink

In a stunning performance, Jimmy Butler led the Miami Heat to a 119-114 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. Butler scored 56 points, matching the fourth-best scoring performance in an NBA playoff game, and put up the first 50-point playoff game since Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals. Butler’s dominance helped the Heat overcome a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and take a 3-1 series lead, pushing the NBA’s top overall seed to the brink of elimination.

Butler, who does not like the nickname “Playoff Jimmy,” continues to elevate his game in the postseason. He is now the NBA’s leading scorer, averaging 36.5 points in the playoffs after averaging 22.9 points during the regular season. Butler finished the game 19-of-28 from the field, 3-of-8 on 3s, and 15-of-18 from the free throw line, and added nine rebounds. In clutch time, the last five minutes of the game when the score is within five points, Butler outscored the Bucks alone 13-8.

The Heat entered the game short-handed after injuries to guards Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo depleted their backcourt depth through the series. However, Butler set the tone for Miami from the opening tip, scoring 22 of Miami’s 28 first-quarter points, including a streak of 20 in a row during the final six minutes of the period. Butler followed that up with 32 points in the second half, including 21 points in the fourth quarter to pull off the massive comeback.

Despite Butler’s historic performance, Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra is not ready to rank it just yet. The Heat took a 3-1 lead over the team with the best record in the NBA this season, and now Miami’s focus shifts to trying to close out the Bucks and complete a first-round upset.

Butler’s historic performance on Monday night will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest playoff performances in Heat history, and potentially in NBA history. However, Butler’s focus remains on the task at hand, which is closing out the Bucks and advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

The Heat will have their first opportunity to close out the series on Wednesday night in Milwaukee. If they are successful, it will be the first time since 2016 that the Bucks have failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs.

As for Butler, his performance on Monday night only adds to his growing reputation as one of the NBA’s elite playoff performers. He has a long way to go to match the likes of Jordan and Kobe Bryant in terms of playoff success, but his performance against the Bucks showed that he has the potential to become one of the all-time greats.

In the end, though, Butler’s focus remains on winning. “I just want to win,” he said after the game. “I don’t care about nothing else. I want to win. That’s all that matters.”

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