LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Jimmy Butler, perhaps the NBA’s best-known barista, is not adjusting the prices at the coffee shop that he’s been operating out of his hotel room for Miami Heat teammates and staff inside the NBA bubble. Even after a win, everything at Big Face Coffee remains $20.
The plan is working, so Butler sees no reason to change.
The Heat might apply the same approach going forward in these NBA Finals. Butler played 45 minutes and had the ball in his hands on basically every possession of Game 3, when Miami won to get within 2-1 of the Los Angeles Lakers in this series. Game 4 is Tuesday night, and much like Butler’s coffee-sales strategy, the Heat may stick with what works.
“There’s no turning back,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He has to make some things happen for us. He did that in a brilliant way last night, and he’ll likely have to do something very similar to that again. For us to be able to accomplish what we want to accomplish, you can’t just be normal. You have to be extraordinary.”
Butler had 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in Miami’s Game 3 win. Extraordinary, the word Spoelstra used, doesn’t even truly cover it -- out of the 8,175 game appearances by players in the NBA Finals, Butler was the first to have a 40-point triple-double in a finals win, and one of only three with one regardless of outcome.
He is the reluctant superstar: Butler swears that he’d rather see his teammates fill the scorebook than do it himself, even though Spoelstra pretty much has made clear that it’s going to be high-usage-of-Butler time the rest of the way, especially if injured starters Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic remain sidelined.
“I think they know what buttons to press to get me to play the way that they want me to play,” Butler said. “But I just want to win.”
Butler and Lakers star LeBron James share some common bonds. Both are the best players on their team. Both have an affinity for hard work and a respect toward those who join them in that commitment. And neither plans to go into games shooting for big numbers; they’d both rather pick their spots and get teammates involved.