And the Oscar goes to . . .
In addition to his 26-point, 10-assist double double, Jimmy Butler turned in an Oscar-worthy performance in Tuesday night’s win over the Knicks.
In the final seconds, with the Heat clinging to a one-point lead, Knicks forward Julius Randle threw up a wild fadeaway shot, resulting in a frantic scramble for the ball. Randle fouled Andre Iguodala and then steamrolled Butler, sending him to the floor.
Butler writhed around in pain for a bit, but then the cameras caught him peeking out to see if he’d drawn a call.
“Butler’s playing,” an incredulous Clyde Frazier said on the Knicks’ broadcast. “Look at him. He’s not hurt.”
Butler said he was emulating the acting of his good friend Mark Wahlberg. (The two have been close since meeting in 2013 when Wahlberg was in Chicago filming a movie.)
“I’ve studied Mark Wahlberg and how he acts so incredibly well,” Butler told reporters. “I’ve taken a few pointers.”
Butler’s performance didn’t fool his teammates, though. Bam Adebayo said that no one on the Heat thought for a second that Butler was actually injured, but they all appreciated the comedic relief.
“He’s a big kid. That’s all I can say about that. In that situation, he’s just a big kid,” Adebayo said. “And everybody knew it—that’s why we was all laughing. First of all, if Jimmy’s really injured, he’s not peeking. If Jimmy’s really injured, everybody knows that he’s getting up and trying to walk it off. The fact that he was down there for so long, just being Jimmy, I feel like that’s one of those things over the course of the game that lightens the mood. Everybody gets a mental break from being serious for like 30 seconds and we lock back in.”
Butler said it’s important to remember that basketball is a game and that everybody is out there having a good time.
“My guys have to know that everything’s going to be O.K.,” Butler said. “It’s O.K. to have fun, it’s O.K. to joke around, because that’s what we’re out here playing for. Yeah, we want to win, but never forget to have fun, smile and enjoy the situation that you’re in.”
That doesn’t sound like the guy who torched his teammates and berated members of the front office in that infamous Timberwolves practice, or the guy who showed up at 3:30 a.m. for his first practice with the Heat, but maybe life in Miami has softened Jimmy’s edges.
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