Heat's Jimmy Butler: 'My Thought Process Was Go for the Win' on Missed 3 vs. Celtics

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 30, 2022

MIAMI, FL - MAY 29: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat looks to pass the ball against the Boston Celtics during Game 7 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals on May 29, 2022 at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler has no regrets over attempting a go-ahead three-pointer in the waning seconds of Miami's 100-96 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.

While talking to reporters after the game, Butler said he was trying to "go for the win" and that his teammates were in favor of the shot:

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"My thought process was 'go for the win'...my teammates like the shot that I took, so I'm living with it."<br><br>Jimmy Butler on the 3-point shot he took while down 2 with 16 seconds left<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HEATCulture?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HEATCulture</a> <a href="https://t.co/KrSGcqJ3XI">pic.twitter.com/KrSGcqJ3XI</a>

Butler took the shot in transition with 16.6 seconds remaining in the game and Miami down by two, but it didn't fall:

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Jimmy Butler went for the win. <a href="https://t.co/7fjYjg9wkC">pic.twitter.com/7fjYjg9wkC</a>

Guard Marcus Smart subsequently hit two free throws to seal the massive road win for the C's and cement their place in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

For the second game in a row, Butler essentially put the Heat on his back, and he nearly led them to victory again after elevating them to a victory in a do-or-die Game 6 on the road with 47 points.

On Sunday, Butler led all scorers again with 35 points on 13-of-24 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, but perhaps most impressively, he played all 48 minutes.

Games 6 and 7 represented a remarkable turnaround for Butler after a knee injury knocked him out of Game 3 and he subsequently struggled in Games 4 and 5, scoring a total of 19 points in those two contests.

Butler ended up scoring the most points in the series with 179, and a case could have been made for him to be named Eastern Conference Finals MVP even in defeat, but that honor ultimately went to Boston's Jayson Tatum.

Given how well Butler shot the ball during the final two games of the series, it is difficult to argue against him taking an open shot for the lead.

Still, his three-point attempt seemingly took observers by surprise since it was in transition and occurred so early in the shot clock.

Driving to the basket and attempting to draw a foul that either could have tied the game or put the Heat ahead with an and-1 may have been the better play in retrospect, especially since the Celtics still would have had a chance to win even if Butler made the trifecta.

The Heat came agonizingly close to reaching the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons, but now they will have to watch from home as the Warriors go for their fourth championship in eight seasons against the Celtics.