Jimmy Butler made sure that the Miami Heat won't go down without a fight in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Playing without injured All-Stars Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, Butler put the Heat on his back and willed them to a 115-104 triumph in Game 3, Sunday at the Walt Disney World Complex.
Butler finished with 40 points, making 14 of his 20 field goals and 12 of his 14 free throws. He also had 14 assists and 11 rebounds.
Watch highlights of Butler's historic performance:
Afterward, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra summarized his performance: "How else do you say it other than Jimmy effing Butler?"
"This is what he wanted, this is what we wanted," he added. "Obviously, this was a very desperate, urgent game, and he was doing it on both ends on the court, just put his imprint on every important part of the game."
"He's in the top percentile of this entire association in terms of conditioning, and you saw he just got stronger as the game went on."
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Butler is only the third player in NBA history to have a 40-point triple-double in the Finals -- joining Lakers legend Jerry West and current Lakers forward LeBron James.
He also has two 40-point performances in the playoffs, becoming only the third Miami player to reach such a mark since James and Dwyane Wade. He also joins Wade and James as the only Heat players with 30 points or more in a Finals game.
In the fourth quarter, with the Lakers knocking on the door, Butler put up 10 points, two rebounds, and five assists -- including the dime to Duncan Robinson for a three-pointer that iced the game.
Interestingly, Butler did not attempt a single three-pointer in the game. According to Elias Sports, he is only the third player in NBA Finals history to reach 40 points without taking a triple, joining Hall of Fame centers Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. O'Neal, a three-time champion with the Lakers and a one-time champion with the Heat, did the trick five times.
Butler is now averaging 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 10.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game in the NBA Finals.