Celtics Sound Off on Jimmy Butler After Game 1 Scoring Explosion

Jimmy Butler

Getty Images Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat.

The Boston Celtics had no answers for Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, with the six-time All-Star racking up an efficient 41 points in the victory.

Boston will have to remedy that in a hurry, with Butler’s postseason groove seemingly improving by the day. The Heat star is averaging a whopping 29.8 points to go with 7.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists so far in these playoffs.

“I know what I’m capable of, I don’t do this to score 40 points,” Butler said after the game. “I play the way I play to win by all means necessary and it just so happened that I score 40. If I score 40 and lose, I’ll be pretty [ticked] off.”

The Celtics, meanwhile, couldn’t slow him down, especially with Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart on the sideline. So what’s the answer?

“He’s comfortable,” Boston star Jaylen Brown said. “We gotta do a better job of breaking that rhythm that he’s in.”

That’s a very similar statement to the one Sixers coach Doc Rivers gave during his squad’s second-round series against the Heat, which Butler and Co. won 4-2.

“We have got to get in his airspace,” Rivers told reporters after Game 5. “It’s really been three games in a row that he’s doing everything he wants to do. There are adjustments we can make, some we don’t want to make, but we may have to.”

Easier said than done. Butler averaged 27.5 points against the Sixers on better than 50% shooting.

Butler, Heat Took Over in Third Quarter Against Celtics

Jimmy Butler tallies 41 PTS, 4 STL as Heat take Game 1 of the ECF 😤Jimmy Buckets went off for the Heat dropping 41 PTS, 9 REB, 5 AST, 4 STL & 3 BLK on 12-19 FG with 17-18 FT becoming the first player this postseason with 30+ points and 4 steals in multiple games as the Miami Heat scorched the Boston Celtics, 107-118, to win Game 1 of the…2022-05-18T03:36:43Z

Butler was especially effective during the third quarter, outscoring the Celtics on his own 17-14. As a team, the Heat took control of the game with a 39-14 run.

“Throughout the course of the playoffs we’ve done a great job responding to runs. … But for whatever reason we didn’t today,” Jayson Tatum told reporters after the game. “I think, obviously, I don’t want to turn the damn ball over, s–t like that. But I guess you know, things happen during the game, and they go on runs. I’ll be the first one to say I take the blame for that. I’ve got to lead better, I’ve got to play better in those moments, and I’m just looking forward to responding.”

On the other end of things, Butler was showered with praise by his head coach for setting the standard for Miami as they eye a second NBA Finals run in three years.

“Jimmy Butler is an elite competitor,” Heat skipper Erik Spoelstra said. “There’s a lot of guys in this league that are playing basketball. He’s competing to win. That’s a totally different thing and he does that as well as anybody in this league.”

Celtics Hit With Unexpected Injury News Prior to Game 1

There were multiple stars missing from the game, including Smart (foot) and veteran Al Horford (health and safety protocols) for the Celtics.

“We definitely weren’t prepared to be without Al and Smart. It’s not an excuse, we gotta be better,” Brown said. ”We still had control of the game in the first half. We lost control in the third quarter a little bit. We just got to be better.”

The Heat continued to play without starting point guard Kyle Lowry, who is sidelined by a hamstring injury. The 35-year-old veteran started 63 games for the Heat this season. He averaged 13.4 points and 7.5 assists, also producing on the defensive side of the ball. But with 15-plus seasons under his belt, Lowry’s leadership and experience are tough things to be replaced.

Luckily, players have stepped up for the Heat, most notably Gabe Vincent. He notched a playoff career-high in Game 1 with 17 points on just 10 shots.

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