If the Heat punch their ticket to the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, it won’t come as a surprise to Jimmy Butler.
That’s because the Miami superstar saw it on the horizon a year ago.
The current Heat-Celtics series is a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals, which saw Miami fall one win shy of basketball’s biggest stage. It must have been a tough pill to swallow specifically for Butler, who rimmed out a clean look at a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in Game 7. But after the Heat’s crushing, season-ending loss at home, the ever-confident Butler chose not to sulk but rather look ahead to the future.
“We had enough,” Butler told reporters. “Next year, we will have enough and we’re going to be right back in this same situation and we’re gonna get it done.”
Butler’s prediction didn’t look very promising when Miami dropped its first 2023 play-in tournament game against the Atlanta Hawks. But after gutting out a win over the Chicago Bulls and securing the East’s eighth seed, the Heat never looked back. They dismantled the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, sent the New York Knicks packing and now are one win away from eliminating the reigning East champion Celtics.
And if Miami completes a sweep over Boston, don’t be surprised if Butler basks in the glory. He would deserve that moment, and we know he keeps receipts.