The 2019-20 NBA season was the most bizarre season in league history simply because of the fact that the coronavirus pandemic halted play for over four months and then play resumed in a “bubble format” down in Florida.
At the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the NBA was able to “finish” the regular season with a handful of seeding games and then they played the entirety of the 2020 playoffs in what is now referred to as the “NBA Bubble.”
Entering the playoffs as the 5-seed in the Eastern Conference, everyone slept on the Miami Heat and fully embracing this underdog mentality, the Heat went on to make it all the way to the NBA Finals. Prior to doing so though, they ran into league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
On this day in 2020, Jimmy Butler scored a total of 40 points against Giannis and the Bucks, helping the Heat take Game 1 of this series 115-104.
Scoring 14 of his at the time playoff career-high 40 points in the fourth quarter, Butler put his team on his back and was able to give Miami a crucial Game 1 victory. The Heat then went on to win this series 4-1 before defeating the Boston Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I felt like I took it up a level in the fourth quarter,” Butler said
The run the Heat went on in the NBA Bubble was remarkable not only because they were the 5-seed and won the Eastern Conference title, but because Jimmy Butler played some of the best basketball of his career.
In these playoffs, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game while shooting 48.8% from the floor. These numbers do not seem too eye-popping, but Butler did exactly what he said in that “needing to happen every game.”
Jimmy Butler ended up being the main reason why the Miami Heat advanced to the NBA Finals and in the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Butler single-handedly led the Heat to two victories without Goran Dragic and without a healthy Bam Adebayo.
He scored at least 22 points in the first five games of this NBA Finals series and he had a 40-point triple-double in Game 3 of the 2020 NBA Finals, lifting the Heat to a 115-104 victory over the Lakers and joining only LeBron James and Jerry West as the only players in NBA history to record a 40-point triple-double in the NBA Finals.
One of the more underrated stars in the NBA, Jimmy Butler is the face of the Miami Heat franchise right now and he is the main reason why they are still a title contending team in the Eastern Conference.
Brett Siegel joined Fastbreak on FanNation as a credentialed NBA journalist in April 2022 after previously covering the NBA for NBA Analysis Network and working with Louisville Basketball, aiding in daily operations, scouting and recruiting. From playing to coaching to covering the game as a media member, Brett has been involved with the game of basketball from many different perspectives. Breaking the news of All-Star Andre Drummond signing with the Lakers in 2021, yearly NBA Draft news and other key stories around the league, Brett is always on the phone, getting the latest news and rumors around the NBA. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @BrettSiegelNBA.