Exactly 365 days ago, on May 29, 2022, the Miami Heat clashed with the Boston Celtics in a nerve-wracking Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Following that pivotal game, Butler addressed the press and Heat fans worldwide, vowing, “We had enough. Next year we will have enough and we’re gonna be right back in this same situation and we’re gonna get it done.” Fast forward to a year later, and the Heat’s journey through this postseason is one for the history books. Remarkably, Miami has become only the second 8th seed team in NBA history to advance to the NBA finals and here they are, exactly after a year, keeping the promise, into the NBA Finals 2023.
Powering this unlikely voyage, Jimmy Butler was presented as Eastern Conference MVP, a testament to his electrifying play throughout the playoffs. He posted phenomenal averages of 29.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in 14 games, reminiscent of legendary performances of old.
Before we plunge headfirst into the whirlwind of the NBA finals, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on some impressive postseason statistics and standout performances from the Heat.
Jimmy Butler has been a force of nature, leading the Heat in points, assists, and steals, with averages of 28.5, 5.7, and 2.1 respectively. He has undoubtedly been the engine propelling the Heat’s progress. Meanwhile, Bam Adebayo has been an iron wall in the paint, leading the team in rebounds and averaging 9.2 boards per game.
And there are moments that stand out, like bright sparks in the inky black of the night:
- The Heat, with Butler channeling an almost superhuman performance, eliminated the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. The series, ending in five games, saw Butler average an astronomical 37.6 points per game.
- Then came the New York Knicks, perhaps enjoying their best season in a decade, holding home court advantage and fancied as favorites. The Heat, though, dispatched them 4-2 in a series that always felt in Miami’s control.
- Against rivals enjoying home court advantage yet again, the Heat’s finals dream seemed precariously close to ending. But a string of spectacular performances from Butler and a standout game from the typically bench-bound Caleb Martin made it a reality.
Heading into the NBA finals, Miami will once again play the role of the underdog against the Denver Nuggets, the favorites who have been on a tear since the season’s start. But if this Heat team has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Jimmy Butler, reflecting on their journey and the road ahead, confidently says, “We’ve done what no one thought we could. We’re here now, ready to face whatever comes. We’ve got what it takes to go all the way.”
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