BOSTON — Miami Heat star ahead jimmy butler He’s spent his life outdoing people who have put him down, so it’s no surprise that, in the heart of a hard-fought 111-105 win about him boston celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night, Butler advanced grant williams pay to talk trash to him.

The pivotal sequence came midway through the fourth quarter after Williams hit a 3-pointer to give the Celtics a 96-87 lead with 6:37 to play. On his way back down the court, Williams began to argue with Butler, who proceeded to smile and then responded with his next shot and was fouled by Williams for a 3-point play.

After the basket, Butler immediately went toe-to-toe with Williams as the two exchanged words and each received a technical foul. The Heat closed out the game on a 24-9 run and left Massachusetts with an impressive 2-0 series lead.

Butler admitted that the trade rolled him down the stretch.

“Yes, he did,” Butler said. “But that’s just competition at its best. He made a big bang, he started talking to me. I like that. I’m all for that. It gets me involved a lot more. It drives that willingness that I have to win a lot more. It makes me smile.It does.

“When people talk to me, I say, okay, I know I’m a decent player, if you want to talk to me everyone you can talk to. But it’s just competition. I respect that though.” He’s a big part of what they’re trying to do. Change. He can throw the ball. I just don’t know if I’m the best person to talk to.”

Butler, who scored nine of his team-high 27 points after Williams’ opening words, once again showed why he has been arguably the best player in the postseason by making crucial plays down the stretch. After the game, his teammates were surprised that Williams pushed their star player to this point, but glad that he did.

‘I knew it was going to be good for us,’ Heat guard caleb martin saying. “Knowing Jimmy, at that point in the game, you get it going, we’ll take Jimmy crazy at any moment. He knew you could see in his eyes that he was ready to go after it.”

For his part, Williams defended his response to Butler, noting that he was not going to back down on anyone on the court.

“I think he said something and I just responded,” Williams said. “I’m a competitor and I’m going to fight. He got the best of me tonight and at the end of the day, it’s out of respect, because I’m not going to run away. My mom always taught me, and my dad too, you get your ass kicked and you don’t you come back home until you get back into battle. You either come back before you die or you come back and get a win, and I’m not willing to die in this final. I’m ready to get a win. I’m ready to come back and go into Game 3 with a better mindset, and I know this team is, too.”

“So at the end of the day, tonight is tonight. We have to focus and let this hurt, but at the end of the day, we have to come tomorrow and really focus on what’s going on.” next.”

Williams said he expected this type of performance from Butler, whether it gave him extra motivation or not.

“It doesn’t matter if I turn it on tonight or not, it will,” Williams said. “For me, it’s a matter of understanding, yeah, sure, ‘you stung a bear.’ And how are you going to respond? Because for me, he made some tough shots. It’s a battle. And I will keep fighting. He will have to make every difficult shot for the rest of the series. turn around and look differently, because I respect him as a fucking player.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra simply shrugged it off when asked about the Butler-Williams matchup.

“Look, I love that twisted version of Jimmy, but you get it anyway,” Spoelstra said. “I just think people are paying a lot more attention to him now that we’ve won a few games in the playoffs in the last couple of years. Jimmy is just a real competitor.”

Aside from the moment with Williams, what Butler and Spoelstra agree on is a mantra that has defined the No. 8-seeded Heat’s run during the postseason: No matter what challenges they face, the group always feels that will find a way to win. .

“We see it every day in practice,” Butler said. “On days off guys are constantly working on their game. Guys are constantly studying film. Guys just want to win. At the end of the day, that’s all everyone on this list wants. If you ask them to do something “As long as it’s to win, they’re going to do it. No one on this list is dumb. So they can tell when it’s about winning and when you’re telling them something, because the ultimate goal is to win.”

Spoelstra echoed that sentiment.

“It seems like this has been our existence all year,” Spoelstra said. “I guess nobody’s really paying attention. But we’re at every game, it felt like for weeks, every game ended on the last second shot, either we’re shooting or the other team is shooting it.

“So you build some value out of that. Whether that turns into trust or not, sometimes you don’t have the trust. But at least you have that experience of going through things and you understand how hard it is.”

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.


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