Jimmy Butler knows all too well the top guy on the team they're about to face in the NBA Finals.
And the frustration that went with facing him.
“The main key — and it's been like this for a very long time — if you want to win, you're going to have to go through a LeBron James-led team,” Butler said after Miami beat Boston to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the title series.
“You’re going to get the same test over and over again until you pass it. That test is LeBron James.”
Butler will feature in his first NBA Finals, where his Miami Heat will take on the Los Angeles Lakers, which stars LeBron James, a 10-time finalist.
The two have had quite a history battling each another, but James has had Butler's number when it mattered the most.
According to Andrew Miller of FanSided.com, Butler is 14-9 against James in the regular season, but James holds a 3-8 record over Butler in the postseason.
Those playoff encounters were back when James played for the Heat and Butler was still a rising star for the Chicago Bulls.
In one of their most dramatic face-offs, James, playing in his second stint for the Cleveland Cavaliers, showed up Butler, who had moved to the Minnesota Timberwolves, in the clutch in a February 2018 game.
Miller wrote on his blog last month: “Butler had the unfortunate string of playoff runs with the Bulls where he constantly ran into LeBron, when he was a member of both the Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. He was never really able to get through the future Hall of Famer.”
The Lakers swept their season series with the Heat 2-0.
Los Angeles blew out Miami 95-80 in their November 8, 2019 meeting, then edged the Heat 113-110 on December 13 in Florida.