Jimmy Butler is certain to return to this series soon, and when he does, the Knicks must be ready to slow down the Heat star.

If the Knicks hope to win their second-round series, they must contain one of the best playoff performers in the NBA, Jimmy Butler. The Heat’s top gun seems to reach another level in the postseason and seems borderline unstoppable; “getting hot” is an understatement when it comes to Butler, he scorches in the playoffs.

In the first round during game four versus the top-seed Milwaukee Bucks Butler dropped 56 points to give his eighth-seed Heat a commanding 3-1 series lead. He followed that performance with a 42-point outing on the road in Milwaukee to eliminate Giannis and co in five games finally. Even now, hobbling after injuring himself in game one in New York and missing his most important teammate in Tyler Herro, the threat of his return loomed over every moment of play in Game Two. The Knicks might have caught a break with him getting hurt late in Game One, but they still must assume he’ll be back sooner rather than later and do everything they can to slow him down the rest of the way. 

The Knicks need to overwhelm Butler with their top perimeter defenders, constantly throwing Quentin Grimes, Josh Hart, and RJ Barrett (even Deuce McBride if necessary). We’ll take a look at what was successful against him in Game One.

Trapping him:

Since Butler demands the most attention on his team the Knicks must trap him into making bad decisions with the ball in his hands, something easier said than done. In the following clip, Josh Hart picks Butler up at the top of the three-point line forcing him to go right off the screen where he is met by a triple team making make a bad jump pass causing a turnover. Making him uncomfortable is essential to the Knicks’ success.


Again, Hart picks Butler up forcing to go right him into a difficult contested floater with help from Mitchell Robinson. 

Getting in his jersey:

Jimmy Butler is a physical player, he likes to bang bodies with his defenders. The Knicks need to return the favor, Josh Hart again does an excellent job of forcing Butler into a difficult contested fadeaway attempt. 

Josh Hart does a good of keeping Butler in front of him on this baby hook shot and forcing him to work when guarding him one-on-one. A guy like Butler will get his; the most defenders can hope to do is make him earn his points. 

Limit the free throws:



Jimmy Butler is incredibly adept at getting to the free-throw line. During the regular season, he ranked seventh in the league in free-throw attempts pre-game with 8.7. In the playoffs, he currently ranks second with 9.8 attempts per game. It’s crucial that the Knicks try and take this away because slowing the game down can help a player that’s struggling, especially one who is currently comprised with a possible lingering injury like Butler is now with his ankle.

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