If anyone needed a reminder that the Heat are still in control of the Eastern Conference Finals, Jimmy Butler made sure to provide one.
“All I’ll say is, ‘We’ll be fine,'” Butler said after a disappointing 116-99 loss at home to the Celtics in Game 4 of the series on Tuesday.
“We’re going to do what we’ve always done to get to this point. We have to constantly believe in each other, knowing we’re going to win and we will. We just have to play harder.”
Butler’s calm and confident demeanor was evident when he spoke to the media after the setback.
It seemed like a warning message to everyone that the eighth-seeded Heat were still 3-1 ahead of second-seeded Boston in the playoffs.
“There’s not much to say about this group because we already know that,” Butler continued.
“So we just have to go out there and execute.”
After leading the series 3-0, the Heat will have their second of four chances to clinch an NBA Finals berth in Game 5 at Boston’s TD Garden on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT, MIX 98.3 in Spanish, Jose Pineda And who will come with) Pujala).
Heat player Bam Adebayo (13) tries to reach the rim against the marks of Al Horford (left) and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Finals on May 23, 2023 in Miami.
No team in the league has come back from a 3–0 deficit to win a series and only three have come back to force a Game 7.
The last time this happened was in the 2003 playoffs when the Portland Trail Blazers lost the first three games of a first round series against the Mavericks and then played a seventh game where they lost to Dallas.
Is Butler worried that the Celtics have lost momentum after Tuesday’s double-digit win in Miami?
“No,” Butler assured.
“In any case, it will give us a boost knowing that we have to play with more energy. We have to play like we are against a wall. We have been at our best throughout the season when we have had to do things the hard way.”
Despite Butler’s optimism, Miami has real problems clinching the playoffs.
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Jimmy Butler (22) of the Heat tries to guard Jason Tatum (0) of the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Finals on May 23, 2023 in Miami.
After shooting 29.2 percent on 3-pointers in the first three games, the Celtics finally warmed up and made 18 of 45 3-pointers (40 percent) in Game 4, while the Heat made 8 of 32. (25 percent) Make it
Boston also scored 27 points on 16 opponent turnovers and outscored it 18–10 on fast-break plays.
“We just have to go back to doing our job,” Caleb Martin said of the need to improve in Game 5.
“The most important thing is to put it behind us and understand that we have one more game and an opportunity to play against them at home.”
Bam Adebayo also believes he needs to improve after contributing only 10 cards with four turnovers, five rebounds and no assists.
The center averaged 18.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in the first three games of the series.
“I had four turnovers. I only shot the ball seven times. I missed two free throws in a row”, Adebayo declared.
“So it’s clear that next game I have to be better.”
Ideally, the Heat would not have needed to fly to Boston on Wednesday and could have earned eight days off before the NBA Finals began on June 1 if they had completed their sweep of the Celtics on Tuesday.
The Denver Nuggets already sealed a spot in the league title race after beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4-0 in the Western Conference Finals on Monday.
“Sometimes things don’t go according to plan,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
“Everything we’ve done this year has been the hard way. We won even when our opponents were playing well and we didn’t have the right flow.”
He got us into Game 4 and you have to give him credit for that. there’s no doubt about it. They deserved to win that match. We have to regroup and prepare for a great opportunity in Boston.”
And that opportunity would be ideal for Miami to earn its seventh NBA Finals appearance and sixth in the last 13 seasons.
The Heat could also become the second No. 8-ranked team to advance for the league crown.
Miami isn’t worried, and Butler made that clear during his post-Game 4 press session.
“We’re going to be persistent,” Butler said of his mindset after that loss.
He said, ‘We will do what we do after every match. Let’s listen to some music, drink some beer and some wine. “I don’t think you can focus on basketball all the time. You have to be able to walk away from the game.”
“My partner and I are going to do the same, our routine, we’re going to smile, be in this together like we’ve always been and go win on the road.”