Jimmy Butler dominated Game 3 of the NBA Finals as he helped the Heat win their first game of the series.
Butler finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in a triple-double. He even added two blocks and two steals in his performance. Even more impressive is that he did all of this without even attempting a 3-point shot (he’s the first player to score 40 points without attempting a 3-pointer since Shaquille O’Neal in 2002).
The Heat jumped out to an early 22-9 lead in the first quarter, but the Lakers went on a scoring run of their own, ending the first quarter at a much closer 26-23. It was around then that Butler claims LeBron James said to him, “You’re in trouble.”
Butler took note.
With about a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Butler could be seen saying the same thing to James.
“We’re going to act like I’m just out there talking trash. I’m not,” Butler said after the game. “LeBron said that to me at the end of the first, that’s what happened. I just said it to him in the fourth quarter.”
While the two NBA superstars fuel each other with trash talk, they also have a healthy respect for one another.
“It’s competition at its finest,” Butler said. “I think LeBron got the best of me way too many times. I respect the guy for it, but this is a different time now, a different group of guys that I have around me.”
James feels the same way.
“Love it. Love it. One of the best competitors we have in our game,” James said of Butler. “I don’t know how many more opportunities I’m going to have, so to be able to go against a fierce competitor like that (is good).”
James added he felt Butler’s performance in Game 3 was “phenomenal.”
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