Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler says that he is a different player than he was during the Heat’s run to the NBA Finals during the pandemic shortened season that saw the season end, and playoffs run, during the bubble.
Butler showed how in Miami’s Game 2 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night, dropping 45 points to put the Heat up 2-0 on the Hawks in their first round Eastern Conference playoff series.
“I am a different player now than I was then,” Butler said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I just always want to play basketball the right way and do whatever it takes to help this team, this organization win. That’s why they brought me here.”
Butler also broke down how his play now, is different than it was during the bubble.
“I’m not as ball-dominant as I was in the bubble,” Butler said. “We got a point guard, and that’s Kyle, and I love him being a point guard.
“I just get to go out there and try to score. And if I can’t score, pass the ball. We’re a different team; I’m a different player.”
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said that Butler’s performance reminded him f the only other player besides James in team history to match Butler’s three career 40-point playoff games for the franchise; Heat icon Dwayne Wade.
“It actually is a good comparison, because if you get in those pressure moments and the moments of truth, if you’re on the other side, would you ever want to just give Dwyane Wade an open 3? You would not,” Spoelstra said. “Because he’s a killer. He’s going to seize that moment. And Jimmy has a lot of those same qualities. You can say whatever the percentage is — throw those all out when it becomes about winning. He’ll find a way to kill you.”
“Everybody is looking for the same, conventional box for winning a championship. It can be done in a lot of different ways. Jimmy is a max guy, a go-to guy, a killer,” Spoelstra said. “However you want to describe it, who cares? He knows how to win, he knows how to help teams win, and the game is played on both sides of the floor, and it’s played with IQ, it’s played with toughness, it’s played with making plays in those winning moments. It’s not necessarily what everybody thinks it is. …
“He’s just a winner, and he showed that tonight.”