MIAMI — Heat star Jimmy Butler vowed to set a better tone for his team after Wednesday’s 109-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, conceding that Miami is ahead in its first Finals game In For nine years he was one of the best players in front of a home crowd – he had to come out with more energy and commitment, especially after a 58:33 outrebound.
The Heat are now 2-1 down in the series.
“I don’t know,” Butler said when asked why he lacked the energy. “I can not answer that. Maybe we’re home; we think we’ve done something. I don’t know it. It just can’t happen. It will not happen again. It starts with myself. I have to shut down.” I have to go upstairs and get free balls. I think when I start playing and doing that, everyone else has to follow suit.”
Aside from Nuggets stars Nikola Jokic (32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists) and Jamal Murray (34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists), they are the first teammate pairing in NBA history to have 30-point streaks in the same regular Scoring triple-doubles What irritated Heat coach Erik Spoelstra in a season or postseason game, according to a study by ESPN Stats & Information, was that his team wasn’t playing with the same strength that fueled his unlikely rise to No. 8 in the Eastern Conference playoffs .
“I just sometimes think that if we’re losing a lot of these physical fights, the effort, the loose balls, the rebound fights, it’s our identity for us,” Spoelstra said. “And sometimes that can disrupt the flow of the rest of the game. That is not an excuse. I think we’ve proven time and time again that we can win and we can find different ways to win, regardless of whether we’ve made it.” Confidence, regardless of whether the ball goes in.
“We have a determination to influence the game and find a different solution or a different way to win a game, regardless of whether the ball goes in. At times it felt like some of those misses were on the edge or in color, the viable shots we’ve been making over the last few months or weeks have affected our, whatever, impact on the other end a little bit . And that didn’t happen often.”
Silence reigned in the post-game news conference room at the Kaseya Center as Heat players and Spoelstra attempted to explain how Jokic, Murray & Co. were able to control the glass, especially as Denver pulled away in the second half. Veteran Miami guard Kyle Lowry said he felt Murray’s early success helped Jokic get rolling later in the competition.
“I think the game started with Jamal Murray, and it made Jokic’s game a little bit – a little bit easier,” Lowry said. “We had the help of Jamal. Jokic will get his. He is a two-time MVP. He knows how to play basketball. He’s really talented.”
“Sometimes he’ll do what he’ll do – 32-10-21, those are pretty good numbers. He is 7 feet tall. He can pretty much do anything. But I think Jamal set the tone for their group, and he was aggressive, assertive. And, you know, he set the tone and that made things a little bit easier for Jokic.”
Butler believes the solution for Friday’s Game 4 is simple: The Heat need to be more aggressive and try not to get into a 3-1 hole against a Nuggets team that’s been playing like they have one all Wednesday night to get a point.
“I feel like we just have to come out with more energy and commitment, and that’s fixable,” Butler said. “It’s up to us as a group. No X or O can change that. So get out there, hit the ground, grab free balls, get defensive rebounds and maybe, just maybe, it would have been a different game.”