NBA

Spoelstra lauds 'ultimate competitor' Butler after Heat win Game 5

By Sports Desk May 11, 2022

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra lavished praise on Jimmy Butler following his side's 120-85 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, labelling him the "ultimate competitor."

Without the injured Kyle Lowry, Butler led the Heat with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while keeping turnovers to a relatively low two despite higher usage.

After scoring 33 and 40 points respectively in losses on the road, Butler had more of a supporting crew in Game 5, as six other Heat players scored in double digits.

Spoelstra singled Butler out not only for his versatility, and how that drives the Heat, but his character.

"Jimmy is just such a stable, high IQ…he's got a great feel for what the team needs, and he does it on both ends and that's what's really kind of lost on young players coming into this league," Spoelstra said post-game.

"He has orchestrated so many things for us offensively, particularly with Kyle [Lowry] out, and he's been able to toggle between those roles seamlessly, and make it look a lot easier than it is."

Shots fell for the Heat as they took a 3-2 series lead, converting on 39.4 per cent of attempts from the perimeter and finishing with 26 assists as a team.

Butler finished Game 5 with an impressive defensive rating of 87.7, and Spoelstra believes his competitive spirit is transformative in both individual and collective senses.

"In terms of being just a scoring option tonight, he was that scoring option but also facilitating for us, he was kind of initiating offense for us quite a bit," he said. "You just feel our whole team has a great sense of confidence when the ball's in Jimmy's hands and we leave the decision up to him.

"He's a great competitor in his heart and his soul. He's an ultimate competitor and when you get into competition, he understands the whole deal. You have to be able to do it on both ends.

"That's what he's been doing for us for three years, really competing for us on both ends, but he's able to compete with a ferocity and do it with an incredibly stable mind."

Related items

  • Brown: Celtics must 'reassemble' after missing chance to clinch title in Game 4 Brown: Celtics must 'reassemble' after missing chance to clinch title in Game 4

    The Boston Celtics must "reassemble" after missing the chance to clinch the NBA Championship on Friday, says Jaylen Brown.

    The Celtics headed into Game 4 on the road at the Dallas Mavericks looking to complete the sweep and seal their first title since 2008.

    However, they were outplayed by their hosts, slumping to a 122-84 blowout loss to end their 10-match playoff winning run and leave them with work to do if they are to get over the finishing line.

    The Celtics now head home with the opportunity to get the job done on Monday, and Brown has called upon his team-mates to bounce back from Friday's 38-point defeat.

    "These are the moments that can make you or break you," Brown told reporters.

    "We have to reassemble. We have to look at it and learn from it, and then we've got to embrace it and attack it.

    "It's going to be hard to do what we're trying to do. We didn't expect anything to be easy, but it's no reason to lose our head."

    Dallas dominated from start to finish in Game 3, holding an 11-point lead just nine minutes into the contest and never looking back as they stamped out any hopes of a Boston comeback.

    Brown praised the Mavericks for their response to losing the first three games of the series, saying: "Give credit to Dallas.

    "I think they played hard physically, and then they dominated the glass. I think that was the key that put a lot of pressure on us.

    "And then we didn't make shots tonight, and I think that's where, you know, we allowed them to play free, once we get them multiple opportunities to make shots, and then also we didn't hit shots on the other end.

    "We're going to look at the film and see where we can get better, and then go from there."

  • NBA: Mavericks roll past Celtics to avoid sweep in NBA Finals NBA: Mavericks roll past Celtics to avoid sweep in NBA Finals

    Luka Dončić scored 25 of his 29 points in a dominant first half and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 122-84 rout of the Boston Celtics to avoid a sweep in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.

    Kyrie Irving added 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored all 15 of his in the fourth quarter for the Mavericks, who forced the series back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday night.

    Dallas opened a 13-point lead after one quarter, were up 26 at halftime and led by as many as 38 in the third before both sides emptied their benches.

    Dereck Lively had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavs, and connected on the first 3-pointer of his NBA career midway through the first quarter.

    The 38-point final margin was the third-biggest ever in an NBA Finals game, behind only Chicago beating Utah 96-54 in 1998 and the Celtics beating the Lakers 131-92 in 2008.

    Jayson Tatum scored 15 points and Sam Hauser had 14 for Boston, which had its franchise-record, 10-game postseason winning streak snapped.

    The Celtics shot 36.3 percent (29 for 80) from the field and were outrebounded 52-31.

    The 35 points in the first half represented their lowest-scoring total in a half in Joe Mazzulla’s two seasons as coach. The 26-point deficit at halftime was Boston’s largest ever in an NBA Finals game.

  • '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."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.