Miami Heat fans are jumping for joy. Milwaukee Bucks fans are stunned and dejected. Either way, this Game 5 will go down as an instant playoff classic.
The Heat miraculously defeated the Bucks in overtime in Game 5, 128-126, which knocked out the top seed from the Eastern Conference in the first round as Miami took the series 4-1.
And it was Jimmy Butler, once again, with the most clutch baskets when it mattered most.
With two seconds left on the clock and the Heat trailing two points, they needed to get a clean in-bounds pass after calling a timeout and an up-and-in shot to at least force overtime. Butler was one of the main reasons the Heat were in this position in the first place, using his clutch gene to get bucket after bucket in the fourth quarter to get his team back into the picture. The Bucks at one point were leading by double digits.
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Gabe Vincent tossed the ball into the air on a play designed for Butler in the paint, and what happened was something out of a video game. Frankly, even a video game might not have this jack built in.
Butler caught the pass one-handed and, in the same motion, tossed it toward the rim. The arena was stunned when he went down with just half a second left.
JIMMY BUTLER’S EPIC 56-POINT PERFORMANCE GIVES THE HEAT THE WIN AND PUSHES THE BEST TEAM IN THE NBA TO THE BRINK
Overtime saw a lot of missed baskets on both sides, but the Heat did what was necessary to close out the comeback and move on to the next round.
They will face the New York Knicks in the second round.
One game shy of losing 56 points, Butler finished this one with 42 points on 17-for-33 shooting with eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block. There is no doubt that Butler’s performance in this series surprised the Heat.
But he was not alone in this. Center Bam Adebayo had a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Heat in the win. Vincent also scored 22 points, hitting a decisive 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to help in the comeback.
The Bucks’ two biggest stars, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, each did their job, but in the end it wasn’t enough. Antetokounmpo had 38 points for the Bucks with 20 rebounds.
However, he dropped 13 points in the charity strip, shooting 10-of-23 from the free-throw line despite efficient 14-of-27 shooting from the field.
Middleton was 9-of-9 from the line and was 10-of-24 for 33 points with six rebounds and six assists.
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No time has been set for the Heat-Knicks series to begin, but one thing is for sure: New York better be ready for Butler, who is taking the team name on his jersey very seriously this postseason.
Associated Press contributed to this report.