This season has seen a number of clutch performances. When the year came to a close, NBA.com writer Shaun Powell named his picks for the Jerry West Clutch Player of the Year Award. He ranked Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat third, after De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings and DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls. Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, behind Butler.
“What is crazy is Butler is having perhaps the finest season of his career and yet Miami, for some reason, continues to chug along,” Powell write. “He remains strong in every aspect of the clutch by getting points, rebounds and assists to put his team in a position to win. At least the Heat, with Butler bringing the goods in tight games, are bringing an advantage as the season and the chase for playoff spots start to get interesting.”
Butler averages three points on 49 percent shooting in key situations. He barely shoots 22 percent from beyond the arc. Despite his 22-point average, which is the highest since joining the Heat, the team is still fighting for a play-in tournament position.
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Jimmy Butler scores 35 to hold off Knicks, 127-120
Jimmy Butler returned to the court in his normal spot, midway through the fourth quarter, with the Miami Heat behind by one point. Not even three minutes later, the Heat had a 12-point lead and were on their way to a much-needed victory.
Butler ended with 35 points and nine assists, Tyler Herro scored 14 of his 22 points in the last quarter, and the Heat upset the New York Knicks 127-120 on Wednesday night to move closer to avoiding the play-in tournament.
Herro hit four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for the Heat, who led by 11 in the third, lost the lead briefly, then reclaimed it with a 16-2 run midway through the fourth.
Herro and Max Strus each hit a pair of three-pointers in the clinching run for Miami (40-34), which is now only percentage points behind Brooklyn (39-33) in the hunt for the Eastern Conference’s sixth and final assured playoff position. On Saturday, the Nets will play the Heat.
For Miami, Gabe Vincent had 19 points, Bam Adebayo had 15, Kyle Lowry had 14 and Strus had 11 in what became coach Erik Spoelstra’s 700th career victory.
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