Marcus Smart Sounds Off on Jimmy Butler Ahead of Celtics-Heat Game 1

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler is guarded by Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics.

Getty Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler is guarded by Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics.

With tip-off of Game 1 between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics less than 12 hours away, anticipation continues to build for the familiar Eastern Conference Finals matchup. The two teams have now met each other here in three of the last four seasons, with each winning one of the previous two series.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart caught up with Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett to discuss the high-stakes battle. He took some time to highlight how impactful Jimmy Butler can be in a series like this one.

“The ultimate gamer,” Smart told Bulpett. “I mean, playoff Jimmy is different. You know, I’ve been telling people that a-a-a-a-a-a-all this time, man. Don’t sleep on those guys, especially Jimmy. Jimmy’s just one of those players that’s a baller. He goes out and hoops. He goes out and plays. He has that fight in him. When you’ve got a guy like that, you’ve always got a chance of winning, and it’s no surprise they are where they are.”

Smart will likely see some of the responsibility of trying to slow down the 33-year-old. It’s not an easy thing to be tasked with, as Butler has had himself quite the run this spring.

Miami’s No. 22 is averaging a career-high 31.1 points per game in the playoffs, while shooting 52.7% from the field and 36.1% from deep. He’s been impactful in other aspects of the game too, securing 6.6 rebounds, and dishing out 5.4 assists per game.

Celtics’ Joe Mazzulla Discusses Facing Heat, Jimmy Butler

Smart wasn’t the only member of the C’s to share some thoughts on Butler. Head coach Joe Mazzulla pinpointed the veteran wing’s great mindset as something he hopes his players mirror.

“Yeah he’s a great player,” Mazzulla said of Butler via the CLNS Media Boston Sports Network YouTube channel. . “He plays with a great mindset. It’s the same thing in every series. We’re playing against great players in the playoffs. At the end of the day it comes down to the type of mindset, the approach we have, the physicality that we play with, and the details that we play with.”

Erik Spoelstra Gives Update on Heat’s Tyler Herro

Butler has had no choice but to step up in the playoffs, after the Heat lost one of their top scorers in the opening game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Tyler Herro has been watching from the bench with a broken hand that he sustained back on April 16.

Reporters prompted head coach Erik Spoelstra about Herro’s recovery process, to which he responded by ruling the 23-year-old out of Wednesday’s Game 1.

“The good thing about a hand is that you’re able to do other things with that,” Spoelstra told reporters on Monday. “But he can’t shoot, he can’t dribble… He won’t be playing on Wednesday. Is that fair enough?”

While Herro won’t play in Game 1, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he takes the floor against the Celtics.

Just days after breaking his hand, Herro shared a timetable for return with  “The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s” Ira Winderman.

“I’ll get surgery on Friday morning [April 21] and it’s going to be four to six weeks, hopefully less, after that, and see what happens,” he said. “They said it would be more toward the [NBA] Finals, not the conference finals, just because of the rehab I’d have to do after surgery,” he explained. “So, yeah, I mean, that’s the hope, get to the Finals, and I can come back for that. But obviously just taking it one day at a time, get my surgery on Friday and go from there.”

He officially surpassed the four week mark on May 12, opening the door for a return sooner rather than later.

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