Last season’s NBA Finals is now in the past but that hasn’t stopped Jimmy Butler from questioning the outcome. The Miami Heat lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in a 4-2 series. In Game 1 of the series, the Heat suffered injuries to Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, who were two of the team’s most important players.
Adebayo missed two of the Finals games while Dragic missed four. Miami was already going to have a hard time beating a powerhouse Lakers team and the injuries just made it ever harder. However, Butler revealed in an interview with GQ that he believed that Heat should’ve won even with the injuries.
“We still think that we should have won—and we were down a couple of guys,” Butler said.
That’s certainly a bold statement from Butler. The Lakers cruised through the Western Conference playoffs by winning 12 of 15 games. Miami was widely considered the underdog even before the injuries to Adebayo and Dragic. Butler and crew will have a chance to prove that they were the better this season as they were able to bring back most of the same roster.
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Heat Were Not the Better Team
Butler is the ultimate competitor so it’s likely that he honestly believes his team should’ve won the championship last season. That said, it wasn’t going to happen even if Dragic and Adebayo stayed healthy. The Lakers were just too good. Los Angeles was already holding a lead when Dragic got hurt in the second quarter of Game 1 of the Finals and the lead was even bigger when Adebayo got hurt later in the game.
Butler did put up some gutsy performances, including an excellent 40-point output in a Game 3 win. However, it was clear that he didn’t have much left in the tank by the time the series got to Game 6. The Lakers handled Miami in the clinching game and Butler only had 12 points in 45 minutes played. It’s hard to imagine he would’ve had anything left had the series got to Game 7.
Heat off to Bad Start
More proof that the Lakers were the better team has emerged this season. Los Angeles is sitting with an NBA-best 11-3 record while the Heat are 4-7 and are the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference. To be fair to Miami, they did have a very short offseason compared to other teams but so did the Lakers.
The Heat put together are surprisingly great postseason last year but they were never considered to be one of the favorites. With James Harden sent to the Brooklyn Nets, Miami might be the fifth or sixth best team in the East. They deserve a lot of credit for their excellent playoff run last season but they just don’t have as much talent as some of the top team’s in the NBA. It seems highly unlikely Butler will be able to avenge his loss to the Lakers this postseason.