The Miami Heat are on the verge of glory
After a legendary performance Monday, Jimmy Butler and the Heat play again Wednesday in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series with a chance to knock out the top-seeded Bucks.
Why it matters: Going into this series, Heat fans didn't have high hopes: Miami barely made the playoffs as a No. 8 seed and some fans even wanted them to miss the postseason entirely to get a higher draft pick.
- If Miami can pull off the upset, whatever happens in the next round is just gravy.
- The Heat would become just the sixth No. 8 seed to eliminate a No. 1 seed in playoff history and the first since 2012.
Catch up fast: Known as "Playoff Jimmy" this time of the year, Butler raised our collective blood pressure and ripped Milwaukee's hearts out in Game 4 by dropping 56 points in a heroic, come-from-behind victory.
- He sparked the offense early with 22 points in the first quarter and then scored 21 in the fourth to spearhead a late rally when the Heat were down 14.
- Butler set a career high in points, broke the Heat's franchise record for most points in a playoff game and scored the fourth-most points in a playoff game in NBA history (Michael Jordan, naturally, is No. 1 with 63).
Quick take: NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley called Butler's scoring explosion the greatest playoff performance he's seen in over 20 years.
Yes, but: The Heat still need to beat the Bucks one more time to advance.
- Their first chance comes Wednesday in Milwaukee, where you can expect the home team to come out swinging in this win-or-go-home desperation game.
What we're watching: Who else on the Heat will step up when the Bucks inevitably double-team Butler and force someone else to beat them?
- Like Heat legend and TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal said during Monday's broadcast, Milwaukee won't let Butler score 56 points again.
- In Game 4, veteran guard Kyle Lowry came up with timely steals late and unheralded wing Caleb Martin drained clutch jumpers.
- With top shooter Tyler Herro out injured, center Bam Adebayo needs to be more aggressive offensively and show he's worth the $163 million max contract Miami gave him in 2020.
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