Jimmy Butler shows massive respect to ‘arguably the greatest player of all time’ in LeBron James

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have struggled to start the 2023-24 season, but they may have taken a step toward getting back on track by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 108-107 on Monday night.

It was LeBron James’ annual trip back to his old stomping grounds, and he scored an efficient 30 points while providing several highlight plays.

Afterward, Jimmy Butler praised James and talked about competing against and learning from him while calling him “arguably the greatest player of all time.”

Butler had played poorly to start the season, but he came alive on Monday with 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting plus six assists. The Lakers were able to keep him from going off down the stretch, as they trimmed what was a double-digit Miami lead down to one, but Miami was able to shut James and company down in crunch time to get the victory.

Big man Bam Adebayo was huge, as he came up with a triple-double by scoring 22 points, grabbing 20 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists while also adding two steals and two blocked shots in his spare time. Meanwhile, Tyler Herro, who has been on a heater to start the season, added 22 points of his own, although he shot only 8-of-20 overall and 2-of-10 from 3-point range.

The Heat were aided when Lakers superstar big man Anthony Davis left the game in the third quarter with hip spasms. He initially sustained the injury just before halftime, and he was essentially ineffective afterward as he tried to give it a go in the second half.

The victory gave Miami a 3-4 record on the season. The team will now be seriously challenged, as nine of its next 10 games will be on the road. However, if one thing is true about the Heat and their lauded culture, they embrace challenges. If anything, challenges seem to energize the Heat and help them play their best basketball.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.