Jimmy Butler shows glimpse of what is to come in Heat's win over Jazz

The Heat returned home from six straight road games, including a four-game West Coast trip, to pick up the victory in front of the home fans.

Feb 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) dribbles the ball up court
Feb 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) dribbles the ball up court / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After six consecutive road games in a stretch that the Miami Heat went 5-1, they kept it going back at home with a 126-120 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday.

Miami has won 10 of its last 13 games and bounced back after a rally that came short against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. The Heat improved to 34-26 on the season and now sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, outside of the play-in.

The Heat played well as a team, with contributions from multiple players. Bam Adebayo’s 23 points and seven rebounds on 10 of 15 shooting was huge, as the All-Star big man had some crucial plays in the fourth quarter. He also held Utah’s Lauri Markkanen to just 5 of 15 shooting. Caleb Martin showed a glimpse of his playoff form, doing it on both ends throughout the night. He had a clutch block on Collin Sexton in the final minutes, totaling three blocks for the game. Martin’s ability to spread the floor and create offense with his slashing and strong drives played a big impact.

Another key takeaway was how much more comfortable Terry Rozier looked. Rozier provided efficient shooting, going 5 of 9 from the field, while also playmaking with a team-high eight assists. As the games have gone on, he has looked much more effective in his role.

Miami shot 52% from the field compared to Utah’s 48% and controlled the basketball while only committing six turnovers to Utah’s 10. This game featured both teams going on runs, but it was the Heat who turned it up and never looked back in the last few minutes of the third quarter. That’s when the momentum flipped thanks to a second-half take over from Jimmy Butler.

Butler’s 37 points and 25 in the second half  were a season high as he shot 63% from the field on 12 of 19 shooting overall.

Adebayo went back to the locker room before the start of the final quarter after a hard fall, and that was when Butler stepped up. Butler shot the ball efficiently from every part of the floor; the paint, 3-point range and going 10 for 11 from the free-throw line. Butler led both teams in plus-minus with a plus-14 on the floor.

Luckily Adebayo returned to the game and just in time to close it out. Adebayo and Butler took turns with highlight plays until Butler completely sealed the deal himself down the stretch. He had two clutch and-1s and it was clear he injected some new life into the team after falling behind shortly after halftime. This team has always been at its best when Butler leads the way and is aggressive offensively.

Besides winning 10 of the last 13 games, Miami has also won six of its last seven. The Heat have the league’s second-best defensive rating since the start of February and are rolling one month before another NBA playoffs. Butler proclaimed after the New Orleans Pelicans win a week ago that “it’s that time.” On Saturday, Heat nation may have just witnessed an early glimpse of "Playoff Jimmy."