‘Next year, we will have enough’

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Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat lost 100-96 against the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals on their home court. The Heat had a 2-1 series lead over Boston, but Miami went on to lose Games 4 and 5.

Following Miami’s Game 7 loss to Boston, the six-time All-Star was optimistic for the 2022-23 season. “Next year, we will have enough, and we’re gonna be right back in this same situation and we’re gonna get it done,” Butler said.

Per a few NBA betting sites, Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat hold the lowest championship odds among the four remaining playoff teams. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Lakers.

Jimmy Butler averaged 25.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.0 steals, and 36.4 minutes per game in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Celtics. Plus, he shot 47.7% from the field and 29.2% beyond the arc.

In Miami’s 111-103 win in Game 6, Butler scored a then-playoff-career-high 47 points in 46 minutes of action. Along with notching nine boards, eight assists, four steals, and one block, he shot 16-of-29 (55.2%) from the floor, 4-of-8 (50%) outside the arc, and 11-of-11 (100%) at the foul line.

Jimmy Butler hopes to defeat Boston in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals after Heat’s Game 7 loss to Celtics in 2022

Fast forward a year, in the Heat’s 119-114 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 of the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Butler scored a playoff career-high 56 points in 41 minutes.

The five-time All-NBA member amassed nine rebounds, two assists, and one block while shooting 19-of-28 (67.9%) from the field, 3-of-8 (37.5%) from 3-point range, and 15-of-18 (83.3%) at the free throw line.

Through 10 appearances this postseason, Jimmy Butler is averaging 31.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and 39.1 minutes per game. Not to mention, he’s shooting 52.7% from the floor and 36.1% from deep.

The Heat are now set to play the Celtics at TD Garden in Game 1 of this ECF rematch on Wednesday night. According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, Boston has an 85.6% chance of winning Game 1 at home. Sportsbooks show Miami as an eight-point underdog.

Boston and Miami tied the regular-season series 2-2. The Heat won the last regular-season matchup 98-95 on Jan. 25. The Celtics are 34-18 against Eastern Conference opponents this season, whereas the Heat are 24-28.

Additionally, Boston is 80-53 vs. Miami all time. However, the Heat are 16-14 against Boston in the playoffs. Fans are not expecting Jimmy Butler to score 55 or more in a single game over the Celtics. But the 12-year veteran did average 27.4 points vs. Boston in last season’s ECF series.


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