NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics vs. Heat

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler

Game 1: Postgame

Heat 118, Celtics 107

Q. Jimmy, you've always been one of those All-Star players whose contributions can never be measured by points because of all that you do, but are you getting a kick out of these huge offensive nights, three 40-point nights in the first 12 playoff games?

JIMMY BUTLER: Not really. I mean, I think I speak for my teammates and the Miami Heat organization whenever I say I know what I'm capable of. I don't do this to score 40 points. I play the way that I play to win, by all means necessary, and it just so happened that I scored 40. But if I score 40 and lose, I'm going to be really pissed off.

Q. When you look at the totality of the rest of the line, the nine rebounds, whatever it was, five assists, four steals, three blocks, nobody has ever done that with 40 in a playoff game. The shrug, I know it doesn't matter, but --

JIMMY BUTLER: So what you asking me for?

Q. Because it has to matter a little bit. Or does that further illustrate the type of player that you are? You always say you're trying to make the right basketball play. People make them. People just don't make as many of them as you tend to have made in this postseason.

JIMMY BUTLER: I have so much trust in my teammates and I will continue to play that way. I've been a quote, unquote scorer at other points in my career, and it didn't work out too well for me. So I'm glad that I had the guys that I have around me and with me and I know that they are going to fight and go to war to battle with me every single day.

So I'm going to keep trusting in them and I'm going to keep giving them the ball.

Q. Why do the biggest stages bring the best out of your game?

JIMMY BUTLER: Probably because I don't care if it's a big stage or a little stage or who is watching. I do what I do for my family, for my people, for my organization and for my teammates. That's it. Doesn't matter if it's a big stage, home or away. I know why I do what I do.

Q. To that point, you always said it's about winning and you don't care about the numbers. Having said that, how confident are you that if the game opens up in a certain way, you can maintain your offensive level throughout this series?

JIMMY BUTLER: I'm pretty confident. I think I've been putting a lot of work in with Chris Brickley every single night. He's been a blessing to me in my career. As long as I keep working, I think I can help us win three more games in this series, and hopefully four more after this one when we get that opportunity.

Q. Coach said you guy are a group that ignites from inspiration. Can you talk about the collective fuel or energy you felt coming into the third quarter right out of the locker room?

JIMMY BUTLER: It's crazy because he doesn't have to say too much. We already knew what we were doing wrong -- turning the ball over, not getting back.

So he talked about it and we came out and was like, you know what, we are at home, we have to play better basketball. We have to play better as a team. We did that, went on a little run.

But this was just a win. It wasn't a really good win like we want to have, because we had a lot of lapses for sure mentally. We can learn from our wins, just like we can learn from our losses.

Q. Not every third quarter is going to be 39-14, but when the defense is really feeding the offense, what do you think about that third-quarter run can carry over into future games in the series?

JIMMY BUTLER: More than anything, it just shows us what we are capable of whenever we worry about getting stops, getting into the open floor, getting to the free throw line, all those good things. It just reminds me, we can do it. I see it on this piece of paper. I lived it. So I expect us to do that from every quarter from here on out.

Q. Piggybacking on that a little bit, Tatum had six turnovers in the third quarter himself. You guys obviously were able to control him. How much did the defense spark everything else you guys were able to do in the third?

JIMMY BUTLER: I've said it all year long, whenever we let our defense dictate our offense, we are a much better team. We get stops. We get into the open floor. We whip that ball around to our shooters. That's the style of basketball we call Miami Heat basketball. Gritty, dog-like, worried about getting stops instead of worried about getting buckets.

Q. How much do you enjoy the mental part of the playoffs and preparing for one team that you know you're going to face anywhere from four to seven games, as opposed to maybe the regular season where it's night to night to night?

JIMMY BUTLER: I think it's a blessing to be able to play basketball at the highest level. Yeah, it's a little bit tougher whenever you have to beat the same group of guys four times, but I think we are all really, really blessed to be able to do what we do for a living. I don't overlook that, but more than anything, I enjoy going to battle with the guys that I got against the Boston Celtics for another three wins.

Q. You had those two straight passing lane steals in that third quarter. They were preceded by two straight stops from Bam, the block on Brown and I think he stripped Tatum. How much does his defense sort of fuel your defense in that regard?

JIMMY BUTLER: It allows me to be me, and so many other people to be themselves, too. I've said it all year long and I mean it, Bam is really the engine behind us.

And I don't think stats really say all the numbers and how well of a game that he played because he sets great screens, he gets everybody open and he's making people pass the ball where we want the ball to go. You've got to pay attention to him on both sides of the floor.

As I've said all year long, he's a big part of what we're doing and he will be for these next seven games that we want to win.

Q. On the topic of your back-to-back steals, do you feel in any way that your steals are kind of like shooting, where the first one you get, and the second one, you commit fully to the ball? Or how does that work when you're able to fully go in for that?

JIMMY BUTLER: I don't know. I tell you right now, Spo doesn't like me -- he doesn't like whenever I do it. Luckily, I was two-for-two 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.

But I feel like, I think I can get ten out of ten. It doesn't always work that way. It helps us go on a little run.

Q. You said that you don't do this to score 40, but coming into a series like this where you know it's going to be extra physical, do you come out in Game 1 looking to get to the line a bunch of times like you did to set a tone?

JIMMY BUTLER: I like physicality. Like, I want to run into people and see who falls down first, who is going to quit first. I think that's the style of basketball I like to play. And so do they. And you know, I was 0-for-2 from three tonight. I want to go 0-for-0 next game because I just want to keep banging into people.

Q. Seems like a bunch of stops, you and P.J. were high-fiving and celebrating. Can you talk about the bond you've formed and what it's like to have him as a teammate?

JIMMY BUTLER: I didn't know I would fall in love with a basketball player as much as I have with P.J., seriously, because he just plays incredibly hard, and then he got the tough job every night of guarding the opposing team's best player, and then going down there and shooting the ball five times. Like, you got to respect that. Because some guys are like -- and I even get like this at times. I'd be like, man, I'm not going out here just to play defense and not go down there and shoot the ball.

He never, ever, ever complains. He's one of the biggest reasons why we're winning, because he does all the little things. It's easy to follow suit whenever you've got somebody like that leading your team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
120358-2-1015 2022-05-18 04:36:00 GMT

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