Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler said he told his teammates he wanted the ball in his hands late in the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals. Butler scored a game-high 40 points to lead the Heat to an upset 115-104 win over the Bucks on Monday night.
The Bucks tried to work their way back into the game but Butler knocked down several clutch shots to seal the win for the Heat. "I told my teammates I probably wasn't gonna pass the ball," Butler said of his late-game mindset, per ESPN.
"I made a couple shots, and they said, 'That's fine with me.' " Butler also revealed former three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade has been pumping him up lately. "I've learned," Butler said of being able to take over games late.
"But I've watched so many great players. And it's great to have D-Wade in my corner, I'm telling you. He's always in my phone, telling me about the game, what to look for. He's been a huge help. He's the first person that texts me tonight whenever I get back to the locker room.
I'm learning. I've been learning. I will continue to learn. I just want to win, though. I can't say it enough."
Heat players told Butler to win the game
Several Heat players came to Butler and told him to win the game for the team.
"For me, it's my teammates," Butler said. "[Andre Iguodala]'s coming to me: 'Yo, win the game.' Goran: 'Win the game.' Duncan [Robinson]: 'Win the game.' And it's not about just scoring -- it's about guarding, it's about making the right play, getting the 50-50 ball.
That's all part of winning the game. And I felt like I took it up a level in the fourth quarter. If that needs to happen every game, I gotta be able to do it. But we've got so many guys that are capable of doing it for us."
The Bucks were up 40-29 after the first quarter but then the Heat started playing much better defense. "It was certainly better than the first quarter," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his team's defense.
"[The Bucks] were lighting us up. And they're just extremely dangerous, the shooting and Giannis' ability to break down your defense and collapse your defense. So you constantly have to stay focused and do your work early."