The Heat dropped its first game of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, losing Game 4, 116-99, but Butler’s hand is nowhere near the panic button. The veteran forward led the way for the Heat once again, scoring a team-high 29 points in the loss, also leading the squad in rebounds with nine.
Miami still holds a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, which could have something to do with Butler’s calm demeanor, although his confidence hasn’t wavered much throughout the postseason. After the loss to Boston, Butler revealed why this defeat will motivate the Heat, and he also posted the following on Instagram:
“Disappointed but determined,” Butler captioned, sharing an image of himself blocking Celtics’ star Jaylen Brown’s layup attempt in the first quarter of Game 4.
Butler: This Loss ‘Will Build Momentum for Us’
Few expected the No. 8 seed Heat to go far in the playoffs. Miami needs one more win to make it to the NBA Finals, something it last did after the 2019-2020 season. The Heat haven’t won it all since 2013 and Butler has never won a ring, so there’s plenty of motivation to go around. Butler, for one, has been relishing the role of underdog.
“If anything, it’ll build momentum for us, knowing that we have to play with a lot more energy,” Butler said on May 23 following the Game 4 loss. “We’ve got to play like our backs are against the wall. I think all year long, we’ve been better when we’ve had to do things our way.”
Butler also noted that the team’s postgame routine wasn’t going to change despite going home with a loss.
“We’re gonna listen to some music, drink some beers. Fittin’ to go have some wine,” he said, adding: “I don’t think that you can just focus on basketball all the time. You have to be able to get away from the game a little bit. But at the end of the day, you fall back on your habits. How consistent you’re going to be. … We’re gonna smile and we’re gonna be in this thing together like we always are.”
Heat Had Forgettable 2nd Half in Game 4 Against Boston
Miami led at the half, 56-50, but the Celtics surged in a strong third quarter, outscoring the Heat 38-23. Butler didn’t score at all in the second quarter and he went nearly 20 minutes without putting any points on the board, not scoring until there was 6:11 remaining in the third.
The Heat also struggled from downtown. After shooting nearly 57% from 3-point range in Game 3, Miami went just 8-of-32 (25%) from beyond the arc in Game 4. The Heat also committed 16 turnovers to the Celtics’ 10 and that was a factor, as well. Still, Butler and company are confident they can right the ship.
“The only thing I’m going to say is we’ll be OK,” Butler said. “Let’s get back to doing what we’ve always done to get us to this point: Continually have belief in one another, knowing that we are going to win, and we will. We’ve just got to play harder. There’s not too much to say with this group because we already know. So we’ve just got to go out there and execute.”
The series will now return to Boston for Game 5.