Jimmy Butler continues to show just why he is a Superstar, with a capital S.
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In his first-ever NBA Finals, the 31-year-old is doing it all for the Miami Heat and then some, rewriting the record books in the process. This now-iconic photo of Butler doubling over late in Miami's Game 5 win is a visual representation of his leaving it all on the floor.
This, of course, came as Butler was in the process of recording his second triple-double of the series, which, by the numbers, qualifies as yet another historic performance.
Let's break it down.
In 47 minutes and 12 seconds of action (he only rested for 48 seconds of game time!), Butler finished with a stat line of 35 points (on 11-for-19 shooting), 12 rebounds, 11 assists, five steals and a block. In doing so, he became the first player in NBA Finals history to score 35 or more points, pull down 10 or more rebounds, dish out 10 or more assists and grab five or more steals.
Per NBA.com Stats, it's only been done one other time in postseason history.
Jimmy Butler is the 1st player in NBA Finals history to record 35+ points, 10+ rebounds, 10+ assists and 5+ steals. He is just the 2nd player to reach those numbers in NBA playoffs history: Gary Payton 35 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, and 6 steals in May 2000 (First Round). pic.twitter.com/j3bdzQeK8P- NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) October 10, 2020
Butler's Game 5 performance came just five days after he recorded a 40-point triple-double in the Heat's Game 3 win, which is history in itself. For one, he becomes just the fourth player in league history to record multiple triple-doubles with 35 or more points in the same postseason.
Jimmy Butler becomes the 4th player to go for two 35+ point triple-doubles in a single postseason... and the @MiamiHEAT force a Game 6! #SAPStatLineOfTheNight pic.twitter.com/RoZOJTAtIr- NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) October 10, 2020
Additionally, Butler becomes just the second player to ever record more than one 30-point triple double in a Finals series, and you don't have to look too far to find the other…
Jimmy Butler has now recorded two 30+ point triple-doubles in the NBA Finals. Entering today, only one player had recorded multiple 30-point triple-doubles in an NBA Finals series: LeBron James in the 2015 NBA Finals pic.twitter.com/Zw4qYRFio5- NBA History (@NBAHistory) October 10, 2020
It isn't the only distinction the two share, either. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Butler also joined James as the only players in the play-by-play era (since 1996-97) to record 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals in a playoff half, with James doing so in the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals.
For the series, Butler is now averaging 29.0 points, 10.2 assists, 8.6 rebounds and 2.6 steals. In Miami's two wins? Those numbers increase to an awe-inspiring 37.5 points, 12.0 assists and 11.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals.
With Goran Dragic possibly missing the entirety of the series after going down in Game 1 and All-Star Bam Adebayo missing Games 2 and 3, Butler's heroics have given Miami a fighter's chance, though they currently trail Los Angeles 3-2.
After five games, Butler leads all players in assists (51) and steals (13), is second in scoring (145) and third in rebounds (43).
As a result, Butler's performance is drawing parallels to that of James in the 2015 NBA Finals, and it's much deeper than the two 30-point triple-doubles. Like Miami, the Cleveland Cavaliers were undermanned but still pushed the Golden State Warriors to six games as LeBron led both teams in points, rebounds and assists for the series. Despite the Cavs loss, James received four of a possible 11 votes for Finals MVP.
Miami is far from finished but win or lose, Butler will get plenty of consideration for Finals MVP.
It's well warranted.
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