Can Jimmy Butler recreate the romance New York wrote in 1999?
The Miami Heat won Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2023 NBA Playoffs on Feb. 22 at the Casilla Center.
The Heat, who swept the previous two games at TD Garden, won their third straight and are now just one win away from advancing to the Finals.
Miami is setting up drama in the 2023 playoffs.
After finishing the regular season in seventh place in the East, Miami played two games in the play-in tournament. It knocked off No. 8 Atlanta in the first game, dropping the No. 7 seed, and then faced Chicago in the deciding game for the No. 8 seed. A loss to the Bulls would have put Miami in the position of not making the playoffs at all. Fortunately, the Heat swept the Cubs and earned a playoff berth.
In the first round, they faced Milwaukee, the No. 1 team in the league. Milwaukee’s dominance was expected, but when the lid was lifted, it was a different story. Taking advantage of an injury to Yannis Adetokunbo, Miami took the series lead and then dramatically advanced through the first round with a Game 4 win in a 2-1 series, followed by a Game 5 upset in Milwaukee. It was the sixth time in NBA history that a No. 8 seed advanced to the second round.
The drama didn’t stop there for Miami. In Game 2, the Heat swept New York in four games, with Jimmy Butler missing Game 2 due to injury, but the team’s defensive organization kept New York’s Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett in check to take the series.
The Miami surge continued in the Conference Finals series against second-place Boston. Despite Boston’s expected dominance heading into the series, the Heat have taken the first three games and are now just one win away from advancing to the Finals, especially in Game 3 at home, where they jumped out to a comfortable first-quarter lead and became the first No. 8 seed in playoff history to win by 25 points or more.
At the center of Miami’s drama is Jimmy “The Romantic” Butler. Butler blasted an average of 37.6 points in the series against Milwaukee and poured in 24.6 points in Game 6 of the Eastern Semifinals against New York to help Miami win the series.
In the series against Boston, he averaged 31.0 points, including clutch scoring in the first two games, and had 16 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in a blowout Game 3 to fuel Miami’s comfortable lead.
Butler appears to be turning into a playoff superstar, with his game-dominating performance completely different from the regular season.
His pump fakes and pivot plays utilizing his two-foot jump shot, as well as his clever steals that read passing lanes ahead of time, are taking the wind out of opponents’ sails.
Miami needs to win just one of the four remaining games in the Eastern Conference Finals series to reach the big dance.
The only other No. 8 seed in NBA history to reach the Finals was New York in 1999. Miami is 24 years away from making history.
Individually, Jimmy Butler is making his second Finals appearance of his career after the 2020 Bubble Playoffs. Back then, Miami made an upset in the bubble playoffs behind Butler’s play, finishing as the Finals runner-up. 토토사이트