Jimmy Butler Brilliance as Miami Heat Leave Milwaukee Bucks on Brink

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Jimmy Butler produced a scintillating 56-point performance as the Miami Heat scored a stunning come-from-behind victory to leave the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks on the brink of elimination from the NBA playoffs on Monday.

In an electrifying battle at Miami’s Kaseya Center, Butler all but single-handedly led Miami to a 119-114 win that leaves the Bucks 3-1 down in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.

Butler’s points haul was the joint fourth-highest individual scoring performance in an NBA playoff game ever.

Only Michael Jordan (63 points), Elgin Baylor (61) and Donovan Mitchell (57) have scored more in a postseason game.

Milwaukee, who welcomed Giannis Antetokounmpo back into their lineup after a two-game injury absence, had looked to be cruising towards victory after leading from the opening seconds and keeping Miami at arm’s length throughout.

Milwaukee led by 14 points early in the fourth quarter and seemed to be poised to square the series at two games apiece after a ruthless shooting performance from Brook Lopez with Antetokounmpo providing scoring support.

But Butler led an astonishing late 13-0 run to transform the contest and with the crowd roaring him on, scored a jaw-dropping 21 points in the fourth quarter to leave the Bucks shellshocked in defeat.

“For my team to get this (win), in this way, in this atmosphere, in this city, is huge,” an exhausted Butler said.

Butler is now relishing the chance of possibly eliminating the Bucks from the postseason in Milwaukee in game five on Wednesday.

“To play basketball in Milwaukee, in front of their crowd, to be together, on the road — that’s where championships are won. And we’ve got a shot,” Butler said.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra saluted Butler’s basketball intelligence.

“He’s one of the most intelligent basketball players in this association,” said Spoelstra.

“You can’t do what he does on both ends of the court just by running around and trying to figure things out.

“He understands what we’re trying to do and he understands what they’re trying to do — and they’re a very good team.”

Butler’s tally came from 19-of-28 shooting with three three-pointers.

Butler said his solo masterpiece was the result of a “complete team effort.”

“I know everybody sees the 56 points, but if my team-mates aren’t looking to get me the ball, or setting great screens, where I can get to my right or my left or the free throw line, this game’s a lot different,” Butler said.

“A lot of shots went in tonight. But my team-mates kept feeding me the ball and telling me to attack. When you’ve got team-mates like that, good things happen.”

Crucially, Butler’s haul included 22 points in the first quarter, a burst of scoring that helped Miami stay just in touch.

No other Miami player broke 20 points, with Bam Adebayo the next highest Miami scorer with 15 points. Only two other Miami players cracked double figures.

Milwaukee were left stunned at how victory had eluded them.

Lopez finished with 36 points and 11 rebounds while Antetokounmpo made a triple double on his return with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.

“We had our opportunities in the fourth quarter but we didn’t make enough plays at either end, and they did,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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