NBA

'It was the right look' - Spoelstra backs Butler shot selection as Heat lose Game 7

By Sports Desk May 30, 2022

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra holds nothing against Jimmy Butler's shot selection and praised the Boston Celtics, after they defeated his side 100-96 in Game 7 to progress to the NBA Finals.

Butler, who willed the Heat and the series back to Miami after 47 points in their Game 6 win, played all 48 minutes and their chance to win or tie the game with 17.1 seconds remaining.

Despite Al Horford's close-out, Butler had a clean look but his three-point attempt to make it 99-98 was short, handing the Celtics the game and the series.

Spoelstra would not have his perspective altered by the outcome, however, saying it was the right shot for the six-time All-Star to take with Miami's season on the line.

"It was fitting that it would come down to the last possession," Spoelstra said post-game. "I felt it had been an incredible storyline, for Jimmy to pull up and hit that three and I love that about Jimmy, it was the right look. I thought, as it was leaving his hands, for sure that was going in.

"You can't prepare for it. It's one of the worst feelings in the world to address a locker room after a game like this. When it ends, it ends in a thud.

"I just have so much incredible respect and love for everybody in that locker room and for what everybody gave to this team. When it's such a memorable season and post-season, it felt like five seasons in one."

Miami's loss on Sunday makes for the sixth consecutive season where the Eastern Conference's first seed does not advance to the finals.

Sunday's Game 7 played out in almost typical fashion, both for a Game 7 and between these two intense teams, with constant momentum swings and scoring runs.

Spoelstra was full of praise for the Celtics and counterpart Ime Udoka, as well as his own team, after what was a highly competitive and ultimately even series.

"It was a really fun group to be around, a really hard-edged group with all the qualities that we love, the good, the bad and everything in between. It's heartbreaking when it ends like this," he said post-game.

"You certainly have to credit the Boston Celtics and their team and coaching staff. Ime [Udoka] did such a tremendous job, building on what they've done the last six, seven years.

"They've probably done it they way that it's supposed to happen in this league. We tip our hats off to them. They are a heck of a basketball team, they can really defend at a high level, they're competitive. This was all about competition, and we faced a team that kind of matches the best qualities of what we do."

Related items

  • 'Experience is the best teacher', says Brown as Celtics close on NBA championship 'Experience is the best teacher', says Brown as Celtics close on NBA championship

    Jaylen Brown said the Boston Celtics had learned from past mistakes after they took another step towards clinching the NBA championship with Wednesday's Game 3 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

    Brown had 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Celtics took a 3-0 lead in the series, holding off a late Dallas push to claim a 106-99 win.

    They could now capture a record-breaking 18th NBA crown on Friday, when they are again on the road for Game 4 at American Airlines Center.

    The Celtics were beaten NBA finalists against the Golden State Warriors two years ago and have also lost two Eastern Conference finals series in the last five seasons.

    Brown thinks experiencing those near misses has made them stronger, saying: "Experience is the best teacher. 

    "All year long we've been hearing about the Celtics in the past, for the last six to eight months, all we've been hearing is all the different shortcomings we've had in the past.

    "This is a new team, you know what I mean? We've learned from those experiences. In these moments, you can see that we learned from it. We stepped up to the plate, and we found a way to win."

    None of the previous 156 teams to face a 3-0 deficit have rallied to win an NBA playoff series, in any round.

    Dallas gave themselves a chance of making a series of it when a 22-2 spurt pulled them within one point with three minutes and 37 seconds left.

    However, a Brown putback was followed by a Derrick White 3-pointer and a Tatum dunk as the Celtics rediscovered their composure to pull clear once more.

    Tatum is refusing to take his eye off the ball despite Boston now having four chances to clinch the title, saying: "Last year, when we were down 0-3 in the conference finals, we really felt like we were going to come back.

    "We almost did. You know, we were my sprained ankle away from having a real shot, so we are not relaxing or anything like that. 

    "You know, we're not even focusing on winning or Friday or whatever. However long it takes, that's our motto. That's what it's going to take, and nobody is trying to relax at all."

  • NBA: Celtics hold off Mavericks for 3-0 lead in NBA Finals NBA: Celtics hold off Mavericks for 3-0 lead in NBA Finals

    Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and Jaylen Brown added 30 as the Boston Celtics fended off the Dallas Mavericks’ furious rally for a 106-99 victory for a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

    Brown finished with eight rebounds and eight assists and Derrick White had 16 points as Boston extended its franchise record with a 10th consecutive playoff win and moved to 7-0 on the road this postseason.

    The Celtics can wrap up the series and win their 18th title to break a tie with the Lakers for most NBA championships with a victory Friday night in Dallas.

    None of the previous 156 teams to face a 3-0 deficit has rallied to win an NBA playoff series.

    Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out about two hours before the game because of a rare tendon injury in his lower left leg sustained in Game 2. But the Celtics improved to 10-1 in these playoffs without the 7-foot-2 Latvian.

    Kyrie Irving scored 35 points for Dallas and Luka Dončić added 27 before he fouled out with 4:12 remaining.

    The Celtics opened a 91-70 lead at the end of a 20-5 run early in the fourth quarter, but the Mavs answered with a 22-2 spurt to pull within 93-92 on Irving’s jumper with 3:37 left.

    Brown made a layup and White hit a 3-pointer before Irving sank a pair of free throws. Tatum dunked and Brown drilled a long jumper sandwiched around Dereck Lively II’s dunk to put Boston up 102-98.

    PJ Washington and Irving both missed 3s and Tatum’s two free throws with 15 seconds left sealed the win.

    Irving’s personal losing streak against the Celtics – his former team – reached 13 games.

  • Celtics' Porzingis ruled out for Game 3 vs. Mavericks Celtics' Porzingis ruled out for Game 3 vs. Mavericks

    The Boston Celtics won't have Kristaps Porzingis for Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday because of a rare injury to his left leg.

    The Celtics announced Tuesday that Porzingis suffered a torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon.

    The team described the injury as being rare, and said it is unrelated to a right calf strain that side-lined Porzingis for 10 games earlier in the play-offs.

    The injury occurred with 3:27 to play in the third quarter of Sunday's 105-98 win over the Mavericks, which gave Boston a 2-0 lead.

    Porzingis helped spark the Celtics in Thursday's 107-89 win in Game 1, tallying 11 points and two blocks in the first quarter in his first game since April 29.

    He finished with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and six rebounds before recording 12 points and four boards in Game 2.

    Porzingis spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Mavericks from 2019-22, and with this latest injury, still hasn't played a game in Dallas since being traded to the Washington Wizards in February 2022.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.