Jimmy Butler says Heat are still ‘all smiles’ after crushing Game 5 loss
“We’ll just have to close at home,” Butler said.
Celtics are still alive: 9 takeaways from Game 5 vs. Heat
Celtics thrive on 3s, beat Heat 110-97 in Game 5 to extend Eastern Final
Jimmy Butler’s energy was completely different from the last time he walked into a post-game press conference at TD Garden.
Sunday night after Game 3, Butler sang as he sauntered around playing Morgan Wallen’s 2021 single “Somebody’s Problem” from his smartphone. He screamed and clapped as he left the ground floor of the TD Garden. He said “hell no” when asked if Grant Williams was the way to stop him.
But Sunday night’s post-game presser after Game 5 showed a calmer and more reserved butler. There was no singing or chatting this time. The Celtics crushed the Heat with a 110-97 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to force a Game 6 on Saturday night in Miami.
“We just need to play better, start the game better, make it harder for them,” Butler said. “They were in a rhythm from the start of the game. But we will always stay very positive, knowing that we can and will win this series. We will just have to finish it at home.
Miami, leading the series 3-2, is now on a two-game losing streak. The Celtics could tie the series and force a decisive Game 7 on Saturday with a win.
Butler insists the last two games, which the Celtics have won by double digits, are no indication of who the Heat really is. The Heat stopped defending, he said, when they saw their shots weren’t falling.
“It’s easy to fix,” Butler said. “We just have to go out and play harder. As I always say, it will be all smiles.
Butler won’t find much to smile about on his statistics sheet. He only had 10 shots all game and was limited to 14 points in 34 minutes. He missed both of his 3-point attempts.
Rarely used reserve Haywood Highsmith, who played a total of 7 minutes in this series on Thursday night, beat Butler by 15 points.
“Our offense was a bit disjointed,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “We weren’t able to launch our attack, get the ball where it needed to go in places where you could operate. If we can get Jimmy into his comfort zones and his power zones more consistently, we’ll be fine. We’ll be working on it for the next 48 hours.
The performance marks a major turnaround from the first three games of the series, prompting Celtics coach Joe Mazulla to say the team lost its defensive identity on Sunday night.
Boston looked engaged, aggressive and connected on defense, holding Miami under 100 points for the second game in a row.
After explaining Miami’s offensive struggles, Spoelstra laughed when asked if he was concerned about his team’s mood.
“Who Cares About the Vote?” said Spoelstra with a smile. “We have a tough group. I think a lot of that is exaggerated. It’s a competitive series. You always expect it to be tough in the conference finals.
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