Jimmy Butler's Epic Performance Garners High Praise After Heat's Game 2 Win vs. HawksApril 20, 2022
It wasn't a stretch to view the first-round series between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks as one between the best player in Trae Young and the best team in the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.
Don't tell Jimmy Butler that.
The Miami star went into full takeover mode while leading his team to a 115-105 victory in Tuesday's Game 2 to seize a 2-0 series lead. He finished with 45 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals in a reminder that he can take over a series at a moment's notice if needed.
It was a much-needed showing for the Heat considering Bam Adebayo and P.J. Tucker dealt with foul trouble, Kyle Lowry was not aggressively looking for his shot and Duncan Robinson was a nonfactor after going off in Game 1.
Yet Butler more than made up for that as the best player on the floor with an array of three-pointers, drives into the lane, defensive plays and transition opportunities while drawing MVP chants from the Miami crowd. Even when Bogdan Bogdanovic caught fire in the fourth quarter to trim the deficit, Butler came to the rescue with a steal and dunk, assist on an Adebayo dunk and monster fadeaway three to ice it.
The Hawks can at least take solace knowing the series shifts back to Atlanta for Friday's Game 3, but it won't matter if this version of Butler shows up.