Jimmy Butler is one of the NBA’s great competitors. On Tuesday night, the New York Knicks saw first-hand just saw far Butler will go to try to win.
Butler’s Miami Heat were locked in a tight game against the Knicks that came down to the final seconds. With the Heat up one point late, Butler was fouled off the ball by New York’s Julius Randle. Butler appeared to be seriously hurt at first as he writhed on the ground in pain, but he was really just trying to sell a flagrant foul call. It didn’t work. The officials made the correct call and assessed it as a common foul.
The best part of Butler’s acting job? The sly smile he flashed the camera as he was supposed to be injured.
The Heat would hold a two-point lead on the final possession as the Knicks got the ball. Butler defended New York guard R.J. Barrett, who just missed the potential game-tying basket.
The Heat got the win, which gave the team its first three-game winning streak all year.
After the game, Butler credited his long-time friendship with actor Mark Wahlberg as the inspiration for his performance trying to sell the flagrant foul.
Butler is also a big soccer fan, so I guess he knows a thing or two about flopping.
The image of Butler peaking out to see if the refs were going to give him the flagrant foul he was looking for is so funny. You know Butler’s former coach Tom Thibodeau, now in charge of the Knicks, had to appreciate the guile.
This is not the look of a man in pain.
Butler ended the night with 26 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds. He was +25 in a game the Heat won by two points.
The Heat have struggled to start the season as the team has been limited by Covid-19 and the league’s health and safety protocol, but they will remain a factor in the East with Butler back in the lineup. This man will do whatever it takes to get even the smallest advantage.