Jimmy Butler scores all-time playoff points against Hawks

Jimmy Butler, Delon Wright - Jimmy Butler scores career high in points in the playoffs
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives to the basket as Atlanta Hawks guard Delon Wright (0) defends during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Miami Heat player managed to close out the win over the Atlanta Hawks by a score of 115-105 to expand their series lead to two games apart, and Jimmy Butler was undoubtedly the main reason why Erik Spoelstra’s team is 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs today with 45 points on 15-of-25 shooting (4-7 on three-pointers) and in addition to five rebounds, five assists and two steals. You know what’s most impressive? There were no turnovers or fouls committed.

Jimmy Butler, Bogdan Bogdanovic, John Collins - Jimmy Butler scores career high in points in the playoffs
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler, center, goes to the basket as Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, left and forward John Collins (20) defend during the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Jimmy Butler’s astounding performance

Of the 39 minutes played by the 32-year-old veteran star, the most crucial stretch of the game came in the final quarter, when the Hawks managed to pull within three points after a three-pointer by Serbian Bogdan Bogdanovic. Butler carried the team on his back, scoring seven points in just 56 seconds, pulling Miami away by 10 points with just a minute and a half to play.

The 45 points were the highest mark in the forward’s career in the playoffs, surpassing the 40 points he scored twice during the 2020 playoffs: against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the second round, and in Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, accompanied by a historic triple-double (13 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and two blocks).

Tyler Herro, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus also contributed on the scoreboard for the Heats, combining for a total of 37 points throughout the game. Atlanta’s best scorer was Bogdanovic, who had 29 points, followed by Trae Young, who had 25 but had 10 turnovers (his worst number of his career) which affected the Hawks’ chances. Miami has centered its efforts on neutralizing the 23-year-old star point guard in every way possible, which has harmed the chances of winning for the team led by Nate McMillan.

The first round series will now move to Atlanta, where the Hawks will try to avoid elimination in Game 3 and Game 4 from their home court where they have a 20-3 record since January 17, the best record in the NBA over that time period. However, on the occasions when a team took a 2-0 lead in a possible seven-game series, the team with both wins advanced 92% of the time.

Jimmy Butler, Delon Wright - Jimmy Butler scores career high in points in the playoffs
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives to the basket as Atlanta Hawks guard Delon Wright (0) defends during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Historically, the Hawks have never come back from a 2-0 deficit (0-25) nor Miami has wasted one (17-0), so the Eastern Conference leader has everything in its favor to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The next meeting will take place on Friday, April 22 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

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