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Heat's Jimmy Butler: Knee Injury 'No Excuse' for Poor Play in Game 5 Loss vs. Celtics

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 26, 2022

David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler didn't make any excuses for his poor performance in Wednesday's loss to the Boston Celtics.

Butler struggled mightily in the 93-80 defeat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, putting Boston up 3-2 in the series and one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals.

Despite a knee injury knocking him out for part of Game 3 of the ECF, Butler has played in the past two games. He clearly hasn't been the same player he normally is, however.

While speaking to the media after Game 5, Butler put the onus on himself, saying: "If I'm out there, I just have to be better ... no excuse."

Butler went just 4-of-18 from the field for 13 points along with six rebounds and four assists in Game 5.

It was also apparent that Butler was laboring in a Game 4 loss to the Celtics when he went 3-of-14 from the floor for six points with seven rebounds and one assist.

In two games before the injury, Butler was playing MVP-caliber basketball. That included a 41-point effort in a Game 1 win followed by 29 points in a losing effort in Game 2.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra needed his other guys to pick up the slack in Game 5, but that didn't happen aside from center Bam Adebayo going for 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The starting backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Max Strus shockingly went a combined 0-of-15 from the floor, with Lowry scoring no points and Strus scoring only four.

Miami was also without guard Tyler Herro because of a groin injury, which made Butler's struggles loom even larger.

Meanwhile, the Celtics got solid efforts out of their superstar duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, with Brown scoring 25 points and Tatum finishing with 22.

Now, the Heat need to win two in a row to make it back to the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons.

Injured or not, the Heat will need a far better performance out of Butler next time out, which will be Friday when Boston hosts Miami for Game 6.

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