Butler finished with a game-high 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting but it wasn’t enough to give the Heat a 2-0 edge in the series.
“They whipped our tail on our home floor,” Butler said. “I don’t see us doing that again.”
The Celtics opened up a 25-point halftime lead and never looked back. He hopes this one stings for his Heat teammates and they use it as motivation going forward.
“You do got to move on, but I don’t like to move on from this because it has to hurt. They tried to embarrass us,” Butler said. “They did embarrass us. We gotta realize that, use it as fuel.”
Butler has been an absolute force in the postseason, averaging just a tick under 30 points per game. He’s also adding 7.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists on top of some stellar play at the defensive end.
“Jimmy Butler is an elite competitor,” Heat skipper Erik Spoelstra said after Game 1. “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.”
Heat in Need of Regroup After Lopsided Loss
The series now shifts to Boston knotted up at 1-1 and Spoelstra doesn’t want his squad lingering too long on the loss.
“This only counts as one,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what the experienced players in the locker room and staff understand. We don’t like it. They played extremely well. You have two really good teams and we just have to figure some things out.”
Heat guard Gabe Vincent echoed the sentiment of his head coach.
“It’s a loss, whether you lose by one or by 20,” Vincent said. “It’s regroup, go back to the drawing board and get ready for Game 3.”
Return of Marcus Smart Sparks Celtics
Marcus Smart missed Game 1 against the Heat with a foot injury but the Celtics veteran returned with a vengeance on Thursday. The Defensive Player of the Year netted 24 points and finished just one rebound shy of a triple-double.
“As a Defensive Player of the Year, night in, night out, taking that matchup and being able to play on both sides of the ball, that’s crucial for them,” Butler said of Smart. “You have to respect him and what he does.”
The appreciation is mutual from Smart, who openly gushed about Butler after the matchup.
“Jimmy is a warrior, man,” Smart said. “Jimmy has been doing this for a long time. He understands the game. He understands his strengths. He understands his team’s strengths. So when you have a guy who has an IQ like Jimmy, it’s always going to be a tough matchup.
“For me my assignment was just to make everything tough for him. We knew he was going to hit some shots. If he did, he had to work for them. That’s just where I came in.”
Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday.