Miami Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler sat out of the second half in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference finals best-of-7 series against the Boston Celtics due to a knee injury and hasn’t been the same spectacular player since.
But he hasn’t lost faith.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Jimmy Butler On Miami’s Injuries: ‘It Doesn’t Matter’
After Wednesday night’s loss, the six-time All-Star spoke to the media to address the Heat’s struggling offense — which the Celtics held to shooting 31.9% from the floor.
“We got to make shots — we do — but we also have to trust the pass,” Butler said. “We get away from that at times. Hit the open guy because there (are) three, four, five people in the paint, at a time whether it’d be them and us. So, we just have to trust the pass knowing that whenever we kick it out we’re going to make the shot.”
After scoring 41 and 29 points on a combined 23-of-37 (62.1%) attempts in the two series-opening games at Miami, Butler’s presence has dwindled. He scored a measly six points in the Heat’s 102-82 blowout loss in Game 4, and with a chance to grab a commanding 3-2 lead, Jimmy couldn’t find his offensive rhythm in Game 5 at home.
Butler fielded questions about his performance, including whether the knee inflammation that forced him to miss the second half of Game 3 hindered his performance in Wednesday night’s duel.
“Honestly, it doesn’t matter. If I’m out there, I got to do better,” Butler said. “I got to find a way to help us win and I haven’t been doing that. I’m fine. My knee is OK. I just got to do better. It’s no excuse.”
Butler: ‘We Know What We’re Capable of’
The Heat will attempt to win back-to-back games on the brink of elimination, starting with Game 6 at Boston on Friday night.
“Besides the fact that anything is possible, we just know what we’re capable of,” Butler said. “We can play some really good basketball, and we know that we’re going to play some really good basketball. It’s going to have to start in this next game up in Boston. I just think that we know that we can win.”
The Celtics held the Heat to 16 points in the third quarter en route to a 24-2 run that bled into the final frame. Jaylen Brown finished with 25 points on 10-of-19 attempts, including 5-of-9 from deep.
Jayson Tatum flirted with a triple-double (22 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists), Al Horford added 16 and 7 rebounds, while Derrick White led the bench with 14 points and a pair of steals. The Celtics are one win away from the 2022 NBA Finals.
They’ll look to close out their best-of-7 series against Miami at TD Garden on Friday.