Jimmy Butler Gives Celtics a Taste of Their Own Medicine on Path to NBA Finals

Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat in game four of the Eastern Conference first-round playoffs at Kaseya Center on April 24, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat in game four of the Eastern Conference first-round playoffs at Kaseya Center on April 24, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
The Miami Heat are one game from the NBA Finals after spanking the Boston Celtics 128-102 at the Kaseya Center in a matchup that saw Heat point guard Gabe Vincent score a career-high 29 points and Duncan Robinson drop 22 while passing LeBron James on the franchise's all-time three-point scoring list for the postseason.

The clinic put on by the Heat puts to rest any lingering questions about the team's prowess after initial doubts about whether they could best the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

In the postgame press conference, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra highlighted how, as the playoffs approached, players studied film and dove deep into a team effort to retool their offense and address shortcomings that held them back during the regular season.

"There's nothing easy about it, and there can be a beauty in that. You can get better from that," Spoelstra said.

Moment of the Game: Jimmy Butler Stays Petty

After a run by the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the series, forward Al Horford hit a shot that forced Spoelstra and the Miami Heat to take a timeout to stop the bleeding. To add injury to insult, Horford knelt and struck a timeout signal pose toward the Heat bench, letting them know they better stop the clock before the situation got even more out of hand.

Unfortunately for the Celtics and Horford, Jimmy Butler does not forget. And following one of the many massive scoring onslaughts the Heat inflicted on the Celtics during Game 3, Butler returned the favor to Horford, directly into his face as he mimicked Horford's timeout pageantry around half court.

In the immortal words of Heat center Bam Adebayo — "Stay petty so you ain't gotta get petty."

"Pure of Intention"

Spoelstra's postgame comments acknowledged that the Heat's regular season was bumpy. The team finished with a 44-38 record, which led analysts across the board to question whether the Heat had the grit to make a meaningful playoff run.

Spoelstra said the team's willingness to learn from the regular season travails has paid off in the postseason.

"We just had to deal with a lot this year. That beauty in the struggle, of not making excuses for it, not collapsing your spirit because it got tough," Spoelstra said.

"Just being able to go through that struggle together and come out of it with a group that was pure of intention and trying to get better, and then see it play out in the playoffs, that's ultimately what you would love a regular season to do for you."

"Somebody's Problem"

The Miami Heat are accustomed to adopting postseason anthems to complement their momentum on the court. From the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" to the most recent obsession with Farruko's "Pepas," there is nothing better than knowing a big Heat run will be followed by the stadium blasting music to which fans can sing karaoke.
According to Jimmy Butler, there is a new Miami Heat anthem that doesn't exactly scream "Jock Jams" — Morgan Wallen's "Somebody's Problem," a country music banger Butler and his teammates have adopted in the locker room this postseason.

It's official — there is now a new Heat song to usher in a potentially looming NBA Finals run.

What's Next: Game 4 at Kaseya Center in Miami

This is actually happening. The Heat have an opportunity to punch their tickets to the NBA Finals with a home victory over the Celtics on Tuesday night, with the tipoff set for 8:30 p.m.

With the Denver Nuggets up 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals over the Los Angeles Lakers, a clean sweep by both teams would mean an eight-day rest between games before the Finals get underway.

The way the Heat are playing at the moment, the only thing that might slow them down is some well-deserved slumber.
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi

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