After his incredible 40-point triple-double in Game 3, Jimmy Butler said he didn't care about triple-doubles, or stats, or records, he just wanted to win. Well, he did that again on Saturday night, leading the Miami Heat to a thrilling 111-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, extending the series to Game 6 on Sunday.
He also made some history with another triple-double in the process. Butler finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, notching his second triple-double of the series. With that performance, Butler is now only the second player in NBA history to record multiple 30-point triple-doubles in the Finals. The only other person to pull off that feat? LeBron James.
If that wasn't enough, Butler also recorded five steals in Game 5, including two huge ones in the fourth quarter. That makes him just the second player to put up a 30-point triple-double and at least five steals in a playoff game since the league started recording steals. Seattle SuperSonics legend Gary Payton, who actually won a title with the Heat late in his career, was the other.
Butler is always going to deflect on these kind of topics to talk about winning. And from his point of view he's absolutely correct. If Danny Green makes that 3-pointer in the closing seconds and the Lakers win the title, Butler tying LeBron and Payton for somewhat arbitrary statistical milestones wouldn't ease his pain.
From a media and fan perspective, however, these type of notes are important because they're an easy way to show how impressive Butler has been over the past few weeks. You can see it on the court with the way he takes over games for the Heat, dragging them to victory with every last ounce of energy he has. It's unbelievable to watch, and this is proof of how rare it is to see someone reach Butler's level.