The Miami Heat acquired Jimmy Butler last summer. Thus far, the five-time All-Star has been worth the investment and then some.
Tonight, Butler turned in an all-time great NBA Finals performance, scoring 40 points while distributing 13 assists and grabbing 11 rebounds in the Heat's 115-104 Game 3 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The victory prevented Miami from falling into an insurmountable 0-3 hole.
As impressive as those numbers are, consider the fact Butler did all of that with Goran Dragic (foot) and Bam Adebayo (neck) missing a second-straight game. The man carried his team to a W.
After the game, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said it was franchise legend Dwyane Wade who really pushed for Miami to add Butler in a sign-and-trade last year.
Spoelstra says Wade "swore" to him and Pat Riley that Butler was the guy they needed. Right now, that assertion has been proven true.
Few people are expecting the Heat to win the series--even if Butler told LeBron James his team is "in trouble"--but it is almost remarkable that they are even in contention right now. Butler is the major reason why.
We'll see if he has any reinforcements on the way in Game 4 Tuesday night.