Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra believes that Jimmy Butler is “extremely underrated” in road playoff games due to his ability to stay calm under pressure.
“In these settings on the road, I think he’s extremely underrated because he’s very steady under the pressure and that just gives your team a lot of confidence,” Spoelstra said.
The Heat’s victory on Sunday came in a 110-86 blowout, with Butler leading the way. He finished with 36 points and managed to collect a double-double with 10 rebounds while also adding four assists.
Butler actually started the game slowly, making just one of his first seven shots from the field. However, he was the driving force during the second quarter when the Heat took control of the game.
Such performances are certainly what Butler demands of himself and explain why he’s one of the key leaders on the Heat. That leadership became evident during his first season with the team, when he led the Heat to the 2020 NBA Finals.
Being underrated is something that Butler has no doubt gotten used to after having been the final pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. Since then, the veteran has been motivated to show just how wrong other teams were about his ability on the court.
Butler’s leadership has sometimes rubbed his teammates the wrong way, with the Heat being his fourth different team since entering the NBA. Yet, there’s no sign that his Heat teammates have a problem with his approach.
On Tuesday night, the Heat will try to close out their series against the Hawks and take the next step toward capturing the fourth NBA title in the franchise’s history.