Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler scored a career-playoff-high 40 points in a Game 1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Most players capable of dropping 40 in an NBA playoff game are highly recruited prospects out of high school. That wasn’t the case for Butler, who chose to attend Tyler Junior College with really nowhere else to go. He caught the eyes of Division 1 schools after a solid freshman season in JUCO, ultimately accepting an offer to play at Marquette University.
That’s also where he caught the eyes of longtime Marquette radio voice Steve “The Homer” True for the first time.
“I always believed he would be this good,” True told Wisconsin’s Morning News on 620 WTMJ. “I knew he could score offensively. He would not take shots he should’ve taken in college. I told him ‘miss more shots.’ You pass on shots that are better than the ones you get.”
Butler didn’t pass on any looks, open or contested, in Game 1. He was 13 for 20 from the field and 2 for 2 from three point range.
Still, Homer says Butler’s calling card is on the other end of the floor. Defense.
“Greatest defensive player I’ve ever seen at Marquette. He could guard anybody.”
So, how do the Bucks slow down Butler in Wednesday night’s Game 2?
Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked after Game 1 if he wanted to switch onto Butler defensively. He scoffed at the suggestion.
“To guard him? No. Why would you ask that?, ” Antetokounmpo said during his post-game press conference.
Homer believes the answer is simple: Wesley Matthews.
“If you watched when [Matthews] guarded him in any way, the only way they could get Jimmy open was to switch.”
Matthews checked out of Game 1 for good with 4:58 to play. From that point on, Butler scored 13 points on 5 for 5 shooting. The answer to shutting down Butler could be as simple as this: Play Wes. If Mike Budenholzer can make that adjustment, the Bucks stand a fair chance at containing Miami’s top scorer in Game 2.
Coverage of Game 2 starts at 5 o’clock on Wednesday night on 620 WTMJ.