Heat’s Jimmy Butler – Exchange with Grant Williams fueled me in Game 2 win

Jimmy Butler led the Miami Heat to a hard-fought 111-105 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, scoring nine of his team-high 27 points after Celtics forward Grant Williams talked trash to him. Williams had made a 3-point shot, giving Boston a 96-87 lead with 6:37 left when he began jawing with Butler on his way back down the floor. Butler responded by hitting his next shot and getting fouled by Williams for a three-point play which spurred the Heat on for a 24-9 run to end the game and leave Boston with a stunning 2-0 lead in the series.

Butler spoke after the game of how the exchange had fired him up and had made him smile, pushing his will to win and making him key in more. He said he respected Williams, describing him as a big part of what the Celtics tried to do, but questioned whether he was the best player to talk to. Williams responded by saying he was competitive and was not going to back down from anybody on the floor and that he expected this type of performance from Butler whether he gave him extra motivation or not.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said that he loves the “gnarly version of Jimmy” but that people were now paying a lot more attention to him now that the Heat had won some games in the postseason in recent years. Butler and Spoelstra agreed that the Heat had a mantra that had defined their run through the postseason, which was that no matter what challenges they faced, the team always felt like it would find a way to win. Spoelstra said that the team had developed grit from ending every game on the last-second shot and, despite not always having the confidence, they had the experience of going through tough situations and understanding how tough it is.

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