Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler's Tuesday night performance versus the Atlanta Hawks reminisced his performance from the bubble but he says he is a different player now than he was two years ago. Butler, who was posting monstrous triple-doubles during the 2020 NBA Finals series versus the Los Angeles Lakers, scored a game-high 45 points and also had five rebounds and five assists in a 115-105 Game 2 victory over the Hawks.
"I am a different player now than I was then," Butler said after a personal 7-0 run in the waning minutes of Game 2's fourth quarter increased Miami's lead from three to 10 to secure the victory. "I just always want to play basketball the right way and do whatever it takes to help this team, this organization win.
That's why they brought me here." Butler heaped praise on veteran point guard Kyle Lowry, saying his presence doesn't require him to be as ball dominant as in the past. "I'm not as ball-dominant as I was in the bubble," Butler said.
"We got a point guard, and that's Kyle, and I love him being a point guard. "I just get to go out there and try to score. And if I can't score, pass the ball. We're a different team; I'm a different player."
Butler's performance reminded coach of Heat legend Dwyane Wade
"It actually is a good comparison, because if you get in those pressure moments and the moments of truth, if you're on the other side, would you ever want to just give Dwyane Wade an open 3? You would not," Spoelstra said.
"Because he's a killer. He's going to seize that moment. And Jimmy has a lot of those same qualities. You can say whatever the percentage is -- throw those all out when it becomes about winning. He'll find a way to kill you."
Butler is known as a strong character but Lowry absolutely enjoys being around Butler. "I think you have to have that dark side and kind of that demeanor to push other people to be better," he said of Butler. "But you also have to have the talent and the work ethic to do it.
You can talk about it, but if you're not about it and you don't show, it's a difference. And he shows it."