With starters Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic out again for Game 3 of The Finals, the weight of keeping the Heat within reach of a fourth franchise title fell to Jimmy Butler.
And Butler delivered. Again and again.
By the time the final ticks flipped off the game clock, Butler had racked up 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists — just the third 40-point triple-double in Finals history. He joins Jerry West (1969) and LeBron James (2015) as the only players to do so.
Jimmy Butler is the 3rd player in NBA History to record a 40+ point triple-double in the NBA Finals, joining LeBron James in 2015 and Jerry West in 1969. pic.twitter.com/73uEtIJ6OD
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) October 5, 2020
Butler shot 14-for-20 (70%) and 12-for-14 (85.7%) from the line, also contributing two blocks and two steals. His mark from the paint (outside the restricted area) was a particularly impressive 9-for-11 (81.8%), well above the league average of 40.1%. That he scored 40 without attempting a 3 marked the first time that had happened since Shaquille O’Neal did so in 2002, the fifth time O’Neal had achieved the feat.
Including the assists, Butler accounted for 73 of the Heat’s 115 points — per Elias Sports Bureau, the second-highest mark in Finals history, trailing only Walt Frazier (74).
The performance earned plaudits across the aisle, as Butler became the first player (opponent OR teammate) to out-score/-assist/-rebound LeBron James in a Finals game. The Lakers star, who finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, offered high praise:
“Jimmy was phenomenal,” James said. “He did everything they needed for him to do tonight. He came through big time in a big-time game.”