Dwyane Wade congratulates Jimmy Butler on passing him and LeBron James to make Miami Heat playoff history

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Jimmy Butler’s memorable performance on Friday night established a new record, with Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade paying tribute to Butler’s effort.

With the Heat facing elimination in their Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 matchup, Butler came through in the clutch. Playing nearly 46 minutes, he finished with 47 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals in a 111-103 victory.

Like the previous historic scoring numbers delivered by Wade and former Heat star LeBron James, Butler’s scoring explosion came against the Boston Celtics. Wade’s 46-point effort came in a first-round playoff game in 2010, while James’ 45-point performance came in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.

Entering Friday night’s clash, the Heat faced the imposing task of trying to win in front of a hostile crowd of Celtics fans. On top of that, they also had to deal with the challenge of missing Tyler Herro, who was out for a third consecutive game with a groin injury.

Butler’s ability to deliver in big games is one of the reasons why the Heat wanted to acquire him three years ago, which they did in a sign-and-trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Heat’s deal for Butler was rewarded in his first season with the team, as his trademark intensity and drive helped the team reach the 2020 NBA Finals.

Butler hardly needs any motivation to put forth strong efforts like the one he delivered on Friday night. However, dismissive comments from Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley about Butler’s capabilities may have caught his attention.

The Heat can now advance to the 2022 NBA Finals if they defeat the Celtics in Game 7 on Sunday night. The Celtics have won the last two games in Miami, but Butler figures to be amped up to try to end that brief winning streak.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.