The Miami Heat are hopefully playing their best basketball of the year right now, according to Jimmy Butler. The All-Star forward believes they’ll be a dangerous out in the playoffs and he’s not alone in that opinion.
Bleacher Report’s A. Sherrod Blakely polled several NBA executives to get their takes on the impending postseason picture. Multiple sources, including one Eastern Conference scout, told the plugged-in reporter that the Miami Heat are built for another NBA Finals run even if they have to run a grueling gauntlet through the dreaded play-in tournament. The main takeaway: don’t bet against Jimmy Butler.
That’s in part why league executives and scouts are confident that the Heat can be a tough team to put away, even if they end up dropping into the play-in.
“Winner-take-all and Jimmy Butler’s playing? I like Miami’s chances,” one Eastern Conference scout said.
“If there’s a team built for this kind of scenario that can get hot, it’s Miami,” an Eastern Conference executive noted.
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@ASherrodblakely) May 5, 2021
That must be music to Butler’s ears who not too long ago vowed to put the Heat on his back in the playoffs. He needs a team effort to get there, then it’s showtime.
“I know in our team meeting we talk about it. All we got to do is get there. We get there, us as a team, I’ll handle the rest,” Butler told reporters on April 22. “I can’t speak for everybody, I don’t care, I really don’t. I don’t pay attention to it [the standings], I won’t be on the World Wide Web like that. So I can’t tell you who is where.”
Jimmy Butler this season:
7.2 REB (career high)
7.3 AST (career high)
2.1 STL (career high, leads NBA)
49.4% FG% (career high)
53.7% 2P% (career high)
59.9% TS% (career high)
26.3 PER (career high)
On the playoffs: “We get there, us as a team, I’ll handle the rest” pic.twitter.com/GGJv9oOKKU
— NBA Stats (@DailyNBAStats) April 22, 2021
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Heat Ready to Get Back to Winning
The Heat had a three-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday night following a 127-113 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Head coach Erik Spoelstra had no answers for Tim Hardaway Jr., the son of former Heat legend Tim Hardaway who hit 10 three-pointers with his dad’s jersey swaying from the rafters. He finished with 36 points on the night.
“Once he caught fire, he became just a big X-factor,” Spoelstra said.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had 36 Points and 10 3PM tonight. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/JEyKRzEXVX
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 5, 2021
Spoelstra’s bunch will have a full two days to put that loss in the rear-view mirror. They don’t lace them up again until May 7 at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Definitely good to have the day off tomorrow to try and get treatment and relax,” veteran guard Goran Dragic said. “It’s definitely going to help a little bit.”
Injuries Playing Factor Down the Stretch
Miami was forced to play without three star players on Tuesday night: Jimmy Butler (flu-like symptoms), Tyler Herro (foot) and Victor Oladipo (knee). There should be a new injury update on their status for Friday night’s game versus Minnesota.
Oladipo is not expected to return. He might be out for the remainder of the season, while the situations around Butler and Herro remain fluid. One positive note: Butler’s condition is not related to COVID-19.
#DALvsMIA INJURY UPDATE: Jimmy Butler (flu like symptoms), Tyler Herro (foot) and Victor Oladipo (knee) have all been ruled out of tonight’s game vs the Mavs.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 4, 2021