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HomeTop NewsJimmy Butler says his dominant 30-second stretch against the Celtics in Game 1 came on plays his coach typically hates

Jimmy Butler says his dominant 30-second stretch against the Celtics in Game 1 came on plays his coach typically hates


Jimmy Butler was dominant in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images Jimmy Butler dominated in the Heat’s Game 1 win over the Celtics. Butler had two consecutive steals and fastbreak baskets in the 3rd quarter that ignited Miami. After the game, Butler said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra hates the type of steals Butler got because they are risky defensive plays. Jimmy Butler put together a masterful, two-way performance in the Miami Heat’s Game 1 win over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.Butler scored 41 points to go with nine rebounds, five assists, four steals, and three blocks, as the Heat outscored the Celtics by 25 with the six-time All-Star on the floor.The defining sequence may have come in the third quarter, while the Heat were in the midst of 22-2 run that swung the game. In the span of 60 seconds, Butler hit a pull-up midrange jumper, got a steal that he converted into a layup, and then a second consecutive steal that he dunked on a fastbreak. The dunk put the Heat up 76-62.It was a dominant display that ignited the Miami fans at FTX Arena.After the game, Butler said his two steals — which came as he left his man to pick off the ball — are the type that Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra hates.”Spo doesn’t like me — he doesn’t like whenever I do it,” Butler told reporters. “Luckily, I was two-for-two on those particular shoot-the-gap passing lanes. But I don’t get them all the time, and then you see him give a look over there.”But I feel like, I think I can get 10 out of 10. It doesn’t always work that way. [But] it helps us go on a little run.””Shooting the gap” refers to anticipating where a pass is going and picking it off, almost like a cornerback or safety would in football. It’s a risky move: If the defender misses the pass, he’s out of position, and it can lead to a defensive breakdown.On the first steal of the sequence, if Butler had missed the ball, the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown would have had a wide-open three or driving lane. Spoelstra would prefer that Butler just stay in position and guard Brown straight-up, rather than going for the steal.Jimmy Butler correctly anticipated this pass.via ESPN/NBAESPN cameras caught Butler lurking before his second steal, anticipating when Celtics center Robert Williams would turn his back. ESPN’s Mark Jackson even referred to Butler as a safety.On the ESPN broadcast, analyst and former head coach Jeff Van Gundy suggested Celtics players should make Butler pay for playing off of them by cutting into a new spot on the floor, thus leaving Butler completely out of position.When those shoot-the-gap steals work, they look incredible, but they are also gambles.However, after the game, even Spoelstra conceded that Butler’s plays changed the game.”Jimmy just really inspired everybody in that third quarter. Those two steals kind of changed the momentum,” Spoelstra said.Butler has taken his game to another level this postseason, averaging 29.8 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.3 steals, all while shooting 53% from the field. The Heat have outscored teams by nearly 18 points per 100 possessions with Butler on the floor.It’s that type of dominance that allows Butler to get away with breaking Miami’s defensive scheme and angering Spoelstra. When Butler guesses right, it can change the game.Read the original article on Insider

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