It’s not trash talk
Jimmy Butler is the only reason why the NBA Finals will go to at least a fifth game. Butler was dominant for the heat, tallying 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in the Heat’s shocking 115–104 victory over the Lakers.
He joined Jerry West and LeBron James as the only players in Finals history to have a 40-point triple double and the seventh player in NBA history to have a 40-point triple double while shooting better than 70% from the floor. He was the first player since Shaq in 2002 to have 40 points in a Finals game without attempting a three.
With 1:13 left in the game, Butler hit a driving layup to stretch Miami’s lead to nine points. After the ball went through the net, ABC’s cameras captured Butler saying “You’re in trouble.”
The remark wasn’t a generic warning to the Lakers—it was meant for LeBron and LeBron only, Butler explained after the game. It wasn’t trash talk, either.
“First of all, we’re not going to act like I’m just out here talking trash because I’m not,” Butler said after the game. “LeBron said it to me at the end of the first. That’s what happened. I just said it to him in the fourth quarter.”
He’s telling the truth! After the buzzer sounded at the end of the first, following a 13–4 Lakers run to narrow what had been an early 12-point deficit, LeBron did tell Butler, “You’re in trouble.”
Man, that backfired.
It did seem at the time like the Heat were in trouble. The Lakers were storming back, ready to turn a big first-quarter deficit into a second-quarter lead. We’ve seen that kind of game a thousand times before, where the underdog jumps out to an early advantage only to come back down to earth as the game progresses. But thanks to Butler’s historic performance, it was the Lakers who were in trouble on Sunday. Is the series in doubt for the Lakers? It’ll take three more performances like that from Butler.
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