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Jimmy Butler takes a stand, plus other Heat-Celtics thoughts – The Denver Post

Observations and other interesting notes from Friday night’s 111-103 NBA playoff win over the Boston Celtics:

– Yes, Jimmy Butler had to call it a night at halftime in Game 3.

– Yeah, he was barely his typical aggressive self in games 4 and 5.

– Regardless of what the Heat have offered or not on their injury report, the problem is real.

– The knee, or something related to the knee, was not straight.

– But this effort also showed a lot of who Butler is and what he is for this team.

– With his team facing elimination, he rallied.

– In the score column.

– On the planks.

– With his disappearance.

– And on the defensive.

– The 2020 bubble seemed like Jimmy’s playoff pinnacle, in this Heat run to the NBA Finals.

– But what these efforts, especially those on Friday, show is that there are still plenty out there.

– Even depending on his age.

– Or the remaining years on his contract.

– There remains a strength.

– LeBron James entered this arena once in the must-see Game 6 and showed up.

– Considering Butler’s bum knee, just the fact that he showed up with that kind of effort showed a lot.

– Too many years left on a contract that runs until the 36th birthday?

– Not an argument tonight.

– Just a study in perseverance.

-True to his word in the morning shootout, Heat coach Spoelstra stuck with his starting lineup of Bam Adebayo, PJ Tucker, Butler, Kyle Lowry and Max Strus.

– Even with Lowry slowed down by his hamstring strain.

– Even with Strus entering arguably in the midst of his worst NBA slump.

– With the start, Tucker passed Giannis Antetokounmpo for 99th on the NBA’s all-time playoff list.

–With their departures, Butler and Lowry passed Buck Williams for 77th on the NBA’s all-time playoff list and tied Kevin Johnson for 76th.

– With his departure, Adebayo tied Shaquille O’Neal for seventh place on the Heat’s all-time playoff list.

– The Celtics opened with their healthy habit of Al Horford, Robert Williams III, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.

– A pair of quick fouls from Tucker brought in Caleb Martin as the Heat’s first reserve.

– Gabe Vincent then followed.

– Then Duncan Robinson, following the Heat’s 5-of-8 start from the field.

– With Victor Oladio coming in early in the second period, making it nine from deep.

– Which left Dewayne Dedmon removed from the equation again, as was also the case in Game 5.

– Lowry’s first assist came after 71 seconds. He didn’t have one in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

– He then converted a 3-pointer with 9:02 to play in the opening period, his first points in two games.

— Lowry’s first assist lifted him past Sam Cassell for 45th on the NBA’s all-time playoff list. His third moved him past Julius Erving for 44th place.

— Butler’s second point moved him past Sam Perkins for 77th on the NBA’s all-time playoff list.

–Butler’s first 3-point attempt moved him past former Heat guard Mario Chalmers for 76th on the NBA’s all-time playoff list.

– Butler’s third assist lifted him past Pau Gasol for 71st on the NBA’s all-time playoff list.

— Butler’s 17th point moved him past Hal Greer for 75th on the NBA’s all-time playoff list.

– Butler’s second free throw attempt moved him past Chris Paul for 59th on the NBA’s all-time playoff list.

– Spoelstra was asked before the game about the Celtics’ success with the small turnover of guard Derrick White.

– “Yeah, you just have to have an ultra-awareness of the weak side”, he said. “It’s almost like you have to visualize he’s a 7-footer. You’re never going to allow a 7-footer to sit untouched in the lane. So it’s just a different dynamic.

– Spoelstra added: “We were able to handle this before. Most teams eventually get there against us, especially in the playoffs.

– Considering the Celtics were down 3-2 before eliminating the Bucks in the previous round, Celtics coach Ime Udoka was taking nothing for granted.

– “We’ve been in this position before, Game 6 against Milwaukee,” he said before the game. “We understand the Miami mindset that is showing. Must match that intensity, that sense of urgency, and that physique that they’re going to bring.

– He added, “We talked about being the hunted – the hunter, earlier in the series against Milwaukee. Now we are on the other side.

– Udoka didn’t exactly remember being in 11th place in the East before the game until January 16, but he took some time to think about it.

– “Honestly, we didn’t even think that far down the road. We were thinking about getting healthy, about understanding the system we were trying to put in place,” he said. “We have always had glimpses of success. We were just trying to be consistent for the most part, knowing we were really good defensively throughout. Trying to get our guys on the same page offensively, to make them understand what we needed from them. That was the goal at that time. »

– He added: “But sometimes we saw good things at the start. Just top to bottom, a bit inconsistent. But we were still optimistic if we were healthy and our defense continued, offensively we would continue to improve. The good signs were that we played very well against the big teams. We had bad defeats against some of the lesser teams. For the most part, we were competing against the top teams. This bodes well for the future. »

– David Ortiz was part of the crowd.

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