Jimmy Butler earned his latest award nomination in Friday’s win

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat reacts after hitting a three-point basket during the second half of Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on April 24, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

Over the years, Jimmy Butler has been the face of a very spirited and competitive Miami Heat team.

Under his watch, they have reached the Eastern Conference Finals twice and the NBA Finals once, and although it has been a very disappointing and frustrating season for them, they are still a dangerous team.

On Friday, Butler led Miami to a win over the Chicago Bulls in the play-in tournament with 31 points, and he came through the crisis stronger than he always seems to be.

It seemed like his nomination as one of the finalists for the Clutch Player of the Year award was justified.

Butler began making a name for himself several years ago as a member of the Bulls, where he made three straight All-Star teams.

Later, as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, he criticized many teammates for being soft, which led to him being considered a toxic influence.

But that fire-and-brimstone style of leadership has been considered a huge asset since his arrival in Miami in 2019.

For years now, he has been one of the league’s deadliest players in the final minutes of a close game, and his one-on-one skills, especially from the midrange area, are second to none.

He was assisted on Friday by Max Straus, a 6-foot-5 small forward who scored 31 points and hit a late 3-pointer to send Chicago home for the summer.

Miami will now head north in the first round of the playoffs to face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the NBA’s best record in the regular season.

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