LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Jimmy Butler kept hearing the same message from teammates in every conversation Monday night.
“Win the game."
He listened to them, and delivered.
Butler scored 14 of his playoff career-high 40 points in the fourth quarter, Goran Dragic added 27 and the Heat clamped down defensively in the final three quarters to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 115-104 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Monday night.
“I felt like I took it up a level in the fourth quarter," Butler said. “If that needs to happen every game, I've got to be able to do it. But we've got so many guys capable of doing it for us."
Bam Adebayo had 12 points, 17 rebounds and six assists for the fifth-seeded Heat, who are 3-1 overall against the top-seeded Bucks this season. Tyler Herro added 11 points for Miami, which improved to 5-0 in the postseason.
Butler joined only LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — the first person who texted Butler postgame Monday night — as players with a 40-point playoff effort for Miami. He was 13 for 20 from the field, 12 for 13 from the line and 2 for 2 from 3-point land.
“He wants these kind of moments," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.