Oh, You Thought the Miami Heat Were Done? Jimmy Butler Said No.


The Boston Celtics were one win away from the N.B.A. finals. After Butler’s 47-point Game 6 performance, the Miami Heat are, too.


BOSTON — In a playoff series that had long ago lost any semblance of order or predictability, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat on Friday night emerged as a rare source of stability, and perhaps the only one.


He rose over flat-footed defenders for 3-pointers. He negotiated rush-hour traffic for layups. He drew fouls and whipped passes to teammates and left the Celtics and their fans in a state of despondence.


When so much else felt uncertain, Butler was a sure thing. It was the shared feeling among everyone in the building, for better or worse.


By the time he cradled the basketball outside the 3-point line late in the fourth quarter, taking a half-beat to survey the landscape before him, he carried himself with a certain air of inevitability: Was there any doubt what would happen next?


“He looked at us, didn’t say a word,” Tucker recalled. “He just nodded his head, kept going. I was like, oh, yeah, he’s about to play. He’s locked in.”


“It’s incredible,” said Lowry, who supplemented his assessment with an expletive. “My bad. Don’t fine me, N.B.A. That was a mistake, I promise.”

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