Jimmy Butler scored a Miami playoff record 56 points, and the Heat roared back from 14 points down in the final quarter to stun the Milwaukee Bucks 119-114 on Monday night to put the NBA’s top overall seed on the brink of early elimination.
The 56 points also became Butler’s career high. He was 19 for 28 from the field, 15 of 18 from the foul line and added nine rebounds for eighth-seeded Miami — which took a 3-1 lead over the Bucks in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Bam Adebayo scored 15, Caleb Martin had 12, and Gabe Vincent scored 10 for the Heat. Game 5 is at Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Brook Lopez scored 36 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from a two-game absence with a bruised back and had a triple-double — 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
And the Bucks led almost the whole way, until the Heat roared back in the final minutes.
Butler had 21 of his points in the fourth, and the Heat still trailed 101-89 after a layup by Lopez with 6:09 left.
That’s when a 13-0 run, capped by a Butler dunk off a Bucks turnover, put Miami up for the first time all night with 3:17 left — 102-101.
The lead changed hands four more times, and Butler’s 3-pointer with 1:20 left put Miami ahead for good.
He added a step-back jumper on Miami’s next possession, punched the air in celebration, and the Heat knew they would soon be leaving with a 3-1 lead.
Antetokounmpo missed Games 2 and 3 of the series — and most of Game 1 — with a bruised lower back. He worked out Sunday, went through shootaround with the Bucks on Monday, got cleared to play and looked good as new.
But Butler was better than ever.
He set the tone early — with the highest-scoring quarter of his career. He had 22 of Miami’s 28 first-quarter points, including 20 in a row over a span of 5:45 late in the period.
And in the fourth, he had 21 more — leading a massive comeback.
Kings’ Fox doubtful for Game 5 with broken finger
Sacramento star guard De’Aaron Fox broke the index finger on his shooting hand and is doubtful to play in Game 5 of the Kings’ first-round series against the Golden State Warriors.
Fox remained in the game after the injury and even made a key 3-pointer in the closing minute before Sacramento lost 126-125. Fox passed out of a double team on the final possession and the Kings lost when Harrison Barnes missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The series is tied at two games apiece headed into Game 5 in Sacramento on Wednesday night.
Fox has emerged as a star in his first trip to the postseason, averaging 31.5 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds through six games.
His 38 points in a Game 1 win were tied for the second most for a player in his postseason debut and his 126 points so far are tied for the sixth most for any player in his first four career playoff games.
Fox had 38 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in the Game 4 loss.
Fox was announced last week as the inaugural winner of the NBA’s Clutch Player of the Year award. He led the league in clutch-game scoring this season with 194 points in 39 such games; clutch games are defined as those where the margin between teams is five points or less at any point in the final five minutes.
Timberwolves survive in overtime, beat Nuggets 114-108
Anthony Edwards stared straight into his locker after Minnesota’s loss to Denver in Game 3, reflecting on the Timberwolves being on the brink of elimination.
Resolute, Edwards told his teammates the Nuggets still needed to win another game and their season wasn’t over. The 21-year-old star made sure Minnesota’s season continued and the series returned to Denver.
Edwards scored 34 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and the Timberwolves beat the Nuggets 114-108 in overtime in Game 4 to avoid elimination Sunday night.
“I take pride. I didn’t want to say I got swept,” Edwards said. “I don’t ever want to say I got swept in my career. So, I definitely took it personally tonight.”
Nikola Jokic tied a playoff career high with 43 points and added 11 rebounds and 6 assists for the Nuggets.
“We had an opportunity to close a series,” Jokic said. “We just didn’t. They were fighting. They were desperate. But it is what it is.”
Rudy Gobert added 14 points and 15 rebounds for Minnesota, which held on after Denver scored the final 12 points of regulation to force overtime.
Game 5 is Tuesday in Denver.
“We show grit,” Towns said. “It’s weird, when our backs are against the wall, we seem to find a way to get a win. It’s great that we got it tonight and we’ve got to do it three more times.”