Jimmy Butler was having the type of game we’ve come to expect from him against the Phoenix Suns Monday night, which really just means he was doing a little bit of everything. He finished with 16 points, a team-high 13 rebounds and seven assists in the 113-112 win over the Suns. But it was a single play in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter that not only sealed the win for the Miami Heat, but exemplified to a T exactly what makes Butler so special.
In the closing seconds of the fourth quarter with Miami clinging to a one-point lead, Butler executed this perfectly-timed block on Suns’ All-Star guard Devin Booker to essentially win the game for the Heat.
Butler did everything you want your player to do on that block. He got up into Booker’s shooting space, forced him to adjust his shot and didn’t give him an easy look at the rim. Butler did all that and avoided fouling him while getting the block in the process. It’s the type of defensive play that reminds you why Butler’s a five-time All-Defensive team member.
Even after getting the block, which Booker recovered and had another opportunity to win the game, Butler didn’t give up on the play. He contained the Suns guard out on the perimeter and forced him into another difficult shot, which nearly looked in, but bounced off the rim to end the game.
After the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised his All-Defensive guard’s play.
“He comes alive against the best challenges in the league,” Spoelstra said.
We’ve certainly seen Butler comes alive on the biggest stage, and deliver time and time again when the Heat need him most, and Monday was no different. The win is Miami’s third-straight, and moves the Heat to .500 on the season for the first time. After starting the first couple weeks slow, it appears as though the Heat are finding their groove. This gritty win was just the latest example of Miami proving that they’re still one of the most difficult teams to beat in the East.