NBA: Jimmy Butler puts up 42 as Heat KO top-seeded Bucks | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Jimmy Butler puts up 42 as Heat KO top-seeded Bucks

, / 01:00 PM April 27, 2023

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat and Jrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks exchange words during the second half of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Fiserv Forum on April 26, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat and Jrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks exchange words during the second half of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Fiserv Forum on April 26, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

Jimmy Butler scored 42 points as the visiting Miami Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 128-126 overtime victory over the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday in Game 5.

Butler followed up his franchise-playoff-record, 56-point performance in Game 4 by making 17 of 33 shots from the floor in Game 5. He helped the eighth-seeded Heat overcome a 16-point, fourth-quarter deficit by scoring 12 straight points for his team during one stretch before converting an alley-oop in the final second to force overtime.

It is only the sixth time in NBA history that an eighth-seeded team has eliminated a No. 1 seed from the playoffs.

“We were resilient, we were down late — it’s seemed to be that way a lot during this series — but we stayed with it, got some stops, made some huge buckets,” said Butler.

The Miami star said his remarkable streak of form had been inspired by his teammates.

“Whatever it takes to win — it could be 40 (points), it could be 50, I gotta be able to do it all,” Butler said.

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Miami teammate Gabe Vincent, whose sublime pass set up Butler’s game-tying shot at the end of regulation, said the Miami plan had been simple: “Just get the ball to Jimmy…get the ball to Buckets and let him do what he do.”

In the extra session, Miami’s Max Strus sank two of three free-throw attempts after being fouled by Giannis Antetokounmpo before the latter responded with a dunk to cut Miami’s lead to 127-126 with 24.1 seconds left.

Vincent misfired on a 3-point attempt with nine seconds to play, but Milwaukee’s Grayson Allen did not get off a shot before time expired.

Vincent finished with 22 points and Bam Adebayo collected 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Heat, who will face the fifth-seeded New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Knicks eliminated the fourth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday with a 106-95 victory in Game 5 of their series.

Antetokounmpo recorded 38 points and 20 rebounds and Khris Middleton pumped in 33 points for the Bucks. Brook Lopez contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday logged 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks sits on the bench after losing Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs against the Miami Heat in overtime at Fiserv Forum on April 26, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks sits on the bench after losing Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs against the Miami Heat in overtime at Fiserv Forum on April 26, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

The Bucks — who finished the regular season on top of the Eastern Conference with the best record in the NBA — were left ruing another fourth-quarter collapse as Miami celebrated before a shocked Milwaukee home crowd at the Fiserv Forum.

Kevin Love sank a 3-pointer to give Miami an 81-80 lead before Milwaukee responded with a 22-5 run to end the third quarter. Lopez and Middleton each made two 3-pointers during that sequence, and Allen converted a four-point play.

Pat Connaughton drained a 3-pointer to stake Milwaukee to a 52-50 lead with 6:29 left in the second quarter. That shot ignited a 17-6 run for the Bucks, who saw their advantage trimmed to 69-63 after Vincent drained a 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds to play in the period.

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Middleton made 6 of 7 shots from the floor — including his lone attempt from 3-point range — and all four of his foul shots in the first quarter to score 17 points. Middleton’s heroics aside, Miami seized a 36-33 lead after Butler contributed 11 points and Vincent added nine.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer refused to point the finger, however.

“There’s a ton of disappointment when your season ends, no matter how it happens,” Budenholzer said. “It’s a hard feeling, it’s a disappointing feeling. But I believe and trust those guys. We’ve all got to be better.”

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TAGS: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA

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