Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Jimmy Butler, Heat seeking to take a 2-0 lead over Celtics

MIAMI (AP) – Jimmy Butler doesn’t like being a called a scorer.

Never mind that the moniker seems appropriate. He’s averaging nearly 30 points per game in this postseason, has reached the 40-point mark three times in his last 10 games after having zero such regular season games since 2017, and carried the Miami Heat over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

But say “scorer” to him, and he will scoff in disdain.

“I’ve been a quote-unquote scorer at other points in my career, and it didn’t work out too well for me,” Butler said.

Things have been working out just fine so far in this postseason for Butler and the top-seeded Heat, who’ll look to take a 2-0 lead in the East title series when they play host to the second-seeded Celtics again today. It won’t be easy: The Celtics are 3-0 after losses in these playoffs, winning those bounceback games by an average of 14.7 points and getting two of those victories on the road.

The Celtics are hoping to have defensive player of the year Marcus Smart (mid-foot sprain) back for Game 2, listing him as probable today. Boston was also without forward Al Horford (health and safety protocols) for Game 1 – he is doubtful for Game 2. And coach Ime Udoka was sick yesterday with a non-COVID illness.

“We have a lot of confidence,” Celtics centre Daniel Theis said on Wednesday as his team gathered for a film session.