They’re up 3-0 because they’re playing with confidence and swagger. They believe in their head coach Erik Spoelstra. They are committed to giving maximum effort consistently. And they’re knocking down their 3-point shots.
The player who embodies Miami’s fearless approach the most? That would be six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler.
Butler found even more motivation than usual when Grant Williams got in his face during Game 2. He said that those kinds of confrontations really bring out his competitive spirit.
Butler has shown that spirit, not just by leading his team to blowout wins, but also embarrassing the Celtics in the process.
As he walked off the TD Garden floor after the game, Butler yelled, pointed to cameras, and told anyone who would listen that Williams was not a viable defensive answer for the Celtics.
When asked a follow-up question about his comments in his postgame press conference, Butler said “Hell no.
Mocking Al Horford’s timeout celebration
Throughout the season, Al Horford has mocked opposing teams by pretending to call a timeout for them when the Celtics are on a big run.
Well, the tables have turned on the Celtics, and Boston has been getting thoroughly outclassed by Miami on a consistent basis.
So, Butler decided to throw Horford’s celebration back in his face after Gabe Vincent sunk a 3-pointer on a big run. Butler pointed his fingers, looked around, and then pretended to call a timeout for the Celtics.
Butler is in his fourth season playing for the Heat, and he has led them to the Playoffs every year.
They are also in the Conference Finals for the third time in that span.
This season, they are the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, but they have had impressive victories over the Milwaukee Bucks (the first seed) and the New York Knicks (the fifth seed) through the first two rounds.
After the Heat’s Game 2 win on the road, Butler responded “hell no” when asked if Grant Williams was the answer to stopping him. That came after Butler vociferously denounced Williams’ impact in the moments after the game. If we’ve learned anything this postseason, it’s to never poke a bear.
Game 3 was no different. Williams (nor anyone else on Boston’s roster) could stop Miami’s offensive onslaught. Butler wasn’t even in particularly explosive form; he scored 16 points on 13 shots and dropped six assists. Instead, he led the charge for what became a total team effort. Six Miami players scored in double-digits, including 22 off the bench from Duncan Robinson.
This remarkable and-one bucket over Williams, however, might be the perfect encapsulation of Butler’s remarkable postseason run so far.
Butler has been the MVP of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. He’s not only annihilating defenses with his trademark patience and precision on the offensive end; he’s playing elite defense and setting the tone for Miami’s no-nonsense, hard-hitting approach.
Very few players can back up their smack talk like Jimmy Butler. The Celtics still have time to respond, but NBA history heavily favors Miami. No team has ever come back from down 0-3. Given the apparent disconnect between Boston’s players and its head coach, odds are this Celtics team won’t break the mold.
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