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NBA Finals 2020

NBA Finals 2020: Putting Jimmy Butler's 40-point triple double into historical perspective

40 points. 13 assists. 11 rebounds.

In the NBA Finals.

MORE: Butler dominates as Heat stun Lakers in Game 3

While he has made it very clear that he doesn't care about the triple-double, Jimmy Butler made plenty of history in Game 3 of the 2020 NBA Finals. Butler becomes just the third player in NBA history to record a 40-point triple-double in the NBA Finals, joining Jerry West (Game 7, 1969) and LeBron James (Game 5, 2015).

Unlike West and James, Butler becomes the first player to record a 40-point triple-double in an NBA Finals win.

That he did so against LeBron is history in itself, as ESPN's Marc Spears reports that Butler becomes the first player to outscore, outrebound and out-assist James in an NBA Finals game.

Fittingly, Butler also joins James as the only players in Heat history to record a triple-double in the Finals. James did so four times during his time in Miami, per StatMuse.

Butler scored or assisted on 73 points which, according to Elias Sports, is the second-most in Finals history, behind only Walt Frazier, who was responsible for 74 points in a Finals game.

Now, let's talk about how he did it.

Butler was 14-for-20 (70%) from the field and 12-for-14 from the charity stripe.

MORE: NBA players react to Butler's performance on Twitter

In the history of the NBA - regular and postseason - there have only been seven 40-point triple-doubles on 70% shooting (or better), recorded by five different players: Wilt Chamberlain (3x), Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Chris Webber and now Jimmy Butler, per Elias Sports Bureau.

Barkley and Butler are the only two to do so in the postseason, with Barkley's triple-double coming in the 1993 Western Conference Finals.

It's also worth noting that none of Butler's 20 field goal attempts came from beyond the arc. In the year 2020, that's saying something.

Per StatMuse, Butler joins Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only three players in the 3-point era (since 1980) with 40 or more points in the NBA Finals without attempting one 3-pointer. O'Neal did it FIVE times.

In Game 3, Butler got his by living in the paint. According to NBA.com's John Schuhmann, Butler's 26 points in the paint were a career-high - regular season or postseason.

Doing the math there, 38 of Butler's 40 came in the paint or from a trip to the line, which, was often a result of his getting to the paint.

Through three games, Butler is averaging 29.3 points, 10.3 assists and 7.0 rebounds in the series. It's a stat line that has only been matched by Michael Jordan through three games of an NBA Finals.

That's elite company.

We know this Heat team has no quit in it and we've seen what Butler is capable of doing. As they look to even things up in Game 4, don't count out the possibility of Butler putting forth yet another historic performance.

Miami and LA are back in action as they take the floor for Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET.

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