Jimmy Butler Did Something (Twice) Erik Spoelstra Hates In Game 1

'He doesn't like whenever I do it'


Jimmy Butler went against his head coach’s wishes Tuesday night at FTX Arena but the star guard’s decisions were paramount in the Heat’s comeback win over the Celtics.

After Miami had taken an eight-point lead over Boston midway through the third quarter, Butler jumped the route on a Jayson Tatum pass intended for Jaylen Brown. The six-time All-Star finished the job on the other end, knocking down a turnaround jumper to push his team’s lead to 10.

On the Celtics’ very next possession, Butler once again took a chance as Boston tried to set up shop. The 11th-year pro’s gamble was successful as he pickpocketed Robert Williams III, took off with the basketball and punctuated the sequence with a dunk.

Butler’s back-to-back steals and buckets clearly sparked even more energy into the already surging Heat, who outscored the C’s by 25 points in the third and ultimately secured a 118-107 win. But after the game, Butler acknowledged theft hunting isn’t something Erik Spoelstra wants him doing on a routine basis.

“I tell you right now, Spo doesn’t like me, he doesn’t like whenever I do it,” Butler told reporters, per ESPN. “Luckily, I was 2-for-2 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.”

Spoelstra felt that Butler’s consecutive swipe-and-scores “changed the momentum” in the best-of-seven opener. The Heat now will try to carry that momentum into Thursday night when they host the Celtics for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

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