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Butler says ‘complete team effort’ behind 56-point gem

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat. Photo: Megan Briggs / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Jimmy Butler saluted his Miami Heat team-mates on Monday after his 56-point masterpiece left the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks facing an early exit from the NBA playoffs.

Butler produced one of the greatest scoring displays in playoff history in a 119-114 win that means Miami need just one more victory in the best-of-seven series to advance.

The 33-year-old six-time NBA All-Star insisted that his solo gem — the joint fourth-highest individual points tally in playoff history — owed as much to the selflessness of his team-mates as his own big-game temperament.

“This legit was a complete team effort,” Butler said. 

“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.

“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.”

Butler said the win also reflected Miami’s battle-hardened team spirit. 

The Heat only forced their way into the playoffs via the play-in tournament, and they are the lowest-ranked seed in the Eastern Conference’s postseason bracket.

“The best thing about this group is that we’re confident, no matter what,” Butler said. 

“We believe we can compete with anybody as long as we’re together. We all really love being around one another. And through the good and bad you can tell one another the truth, and you move on. 

“That’s the formula right now — and that’s the reason we’re winning.

“We knew what we were capable of even if nobody outside of this building or this roster believed in us. We just want to continue what we know is possible -– play good basketball, smile and have fun, and be together no matter what.

“And we’ll see where we end up.”

Butler joins illustrious company at the top of the all-time single-game scoring leaders in the NBA playoffs.

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

Butler, who led Miami to the NBA Finals in 2020, admitted that he thrives in the intense conditions of playoff basketball.

“I just love the competitive aspect of it I guess,” he said. 

“This is where the best players show up, and show out. I’m not saying I’m one of those best players but I want to be looked at as such. 

“I want to go out and compete and do everything I can to help my team win, along with everyone else on this roster.”

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