Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat were eliminated from the NBA Finals by the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
Aside from one memorable showing in Game 2, the Heat couldn’t get much of anything going against the eventual champs.
At one point in Game 5 it felt like the refs were trying to do everything imaginable to give Butler and Miami a chance to extend the series.
This was ruled a foul on Aaron Gordon.
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) June 13, 2023
But in the end, Denver still found a way to win.
After the game, Butler and Kyle Lowry sat down with the media and got brutally honest about how the NBA Finals went for the Heat.
“It’s been great,” Butler said.
“I’ve had some helluva teammates come through and compete with me and give us the opportunity to win a championship, which I still believe, with everything in me, that we will do as a team here, as an organization, as a city in Miami.
“The four years have been great. It’s always great to be wanted and loved and appreciated. I don’t think that’s going to change. But for the time being, like I just said, I’m grateful that we made it here. Came up short, but I’m blessed. I’m fortunate.”
Butler was also pointedly asked about how much his prior ankle injury impacted him in this series.
He refused to use it as a crutch.
“Zero,” he replied. “My ankle’s fine. We just didn’t win, there’s no excuse. They beat us.”
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 13, 2023
After numerous heroic efforts on the way to the NBA Finals, Butler couldn’t really get going against Denver. In the end, he made far more headlines for his secret girlfriend than any substantive basketball stuff over the past few games.
That said, Butler’s playoff run really did remind fans about how good he truly is – particularly in the postseason.
Will Butler be able to get Miami back to the NBA Finals in 2023-24? One way or the other, an answer will emerge next year.