Jimmy Butler went off for 35 points and 12 assists as he led the Heat past the Mavericks (129-122). Part of his job on the court was guarding either Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving.
Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra praised Butler’s competitiveness after the game, calling him an elite two-way player.
“His competitiveness will always trump everything,” Spoelstra said about Butler. “He lives for the competitive moments. He’s going to rise above the competition and carry us all along with him and he’ll do it on both ends of the court. Even just setting the tone in the first quarter, matching up against Doncic.
“Then throughout the course of the game he basically was playing either Doncic or Irving. You can’t take that for granted as one of the most elite two-way players in this game. But it’s the controlling of the tenner of the game that is such a skillset that he has.”
The win kept the Heat in the race for a direct playoff spot. Miami is currently seventh in the Eastern Conference with 41 wins and 37 losses, .5 game behind the Nets.
This season Butler is averaging 22.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 33.4 minutes per game.