Heat’s Jimmy Butler Says Miami Not Underdogs in NBA Finals
Despite what many may think, Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler doesn’t believe that his team are underdogs in their NBA Finals matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.
In fact, Butler is supremely confident in his team, and their chances ahead of Game 1 on Wednesday night.
“A really good team,” Butler said, according to ESPN’s Tim Botemps. “That’s it. A really good team. Not going to say that we’re any better than anybody else, but I just don’t think that we’re underdogs. I don’t.”
Butler barked back at those who picked the Lakers, betting against his Heat team.
“So what that nobody picked us to be here? That’s OK. Pretty sure nobody is picking us to win, either. That’s OK. But we understand that. We embrace that, because, at the end of the day, we truly don’t care. We’re just going to go out here and compete, play together like we always have, and I’m going to see where we end up.
“But at the end of the day we’re going to do this our way, the Miami Heat way, and that way has worked for us all year long.”
Butler has been a perfect fit with Miami, and has completely embraced the organization and team culture.
“I think, like I said, I just get to be me here,” Butler said. “I get to call it how I see it. Nobody takes it personally. I don’t have to worry about anybody trying to control me, as it was said people were trying to do over there [in Philadelphia].
“But I have no hard feelings towards any of those players, anybody in that organization. I’m glad to be where I am. As you can tell, it’s worked out, and that’s where I’ll leave it. I knew what we could do here. We added some key pieces in the middle of the year, and we are where we are. So, I don’t really look back at it too much. I’ve got to stay focused in on the right now and with the group that I have.”
While the Heat are certainly focused on the Finals, they did take some time to celebrate their win in the Eastern Conference Finals over the Boston Celtics.
“We did take a night just to acknowledge it and enjoy it,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The players and the staff and families that were here, I wanted everybody to have perspective on how difficult this is, how extraordinary of an experience all of this is, being part of this bubble, being here for 80-plus days, surviving all of it and earning the right to compete for an NBA title. We just got off a very competitive, hard-fought series, and emotionally I don’t think anybody was ready just to turn that page.
“But yesterday was a workday. For the players, it was a day just to recover and relax. We got together last night and did some more prep today.”
Butler pointed to the veteran experience of Heat players such as Udonis Haslem and Andre Iguodala, who have been involved, separately, in the past 9 NBA Finals, along with Spoelstra.
“I don’t know,” Butler said. “You know, we’ll see as the game goes. But I think there’s a lot of nerves for a lot of people, including myself. This is the first time being here, so I just want to make sure that everybody is comfortable. We’ve been playing a certain way this entire year. I’m not getting away from that. I think that’s winning basketball for us, me making sure that everybody is involved. I think that’s part of my role on this team, so we’ll take it as the game goes, and we’ll figure it out. But, I mean, I’m sure before the game, [Haslem], [Iguodala], [Spoelstra], they’ll definitely tell me what to look for and how to start, I guess.”