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The Miami Heat are back in the Eastern Conference finals, thanks to Jimmy Butler

The Miami Heat defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 99-90 in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference second-round series on Thursday night to advance to the conference finals for the second time in three years. 

As per reports, Erik Spoelstra, the coach of the Miami Heat, described Butler as a “great competitor.” My opinion is that, at some point, this league becomes less about winning and more about a variety of other non-sporting factors. And when he is solely focused on leading a team to victory, everything else becomes irrelevant — something that many players and teams fail to realize. 

At 32 years old, Butler is playing with the kind of confidence he displayed during Miami’s 2020 playoff run in the Orlando bubble where he delivered the Heat to within two wins of an NBA championship. Butler, according to Heat center Bam Adebayo, is the team’s “engine.”

With the confidence instilled in him by teammates, Butler says he’s become more comfortable closing out big games. My teammates and coaches have faith in me, and that means a lot,” Butler said. As a result of Max Strus picking up where Butler left off, the Heat were able to take control of the game early on. 

He scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half, setting the tone for a confident team that came into the series after shooting just 14 of 65 from beyond the arc during the Heat’s losses in Philadelphia in Games 3 and 4. For a brief moment, Butler believed that he would spend the rest of his career in Philadelphia alongside Embiid, but “it didn’t work out.” 

This series against his former team didn’t excite Butler, who said he thought he would stay but that “some things happened” and that’s why he’s moved on.

The Heat are confident they can beat whoever they face next, thanks to Butler leading the charge. The coach described Butler as “extremely desperate” when his team is within striking distance of victory.

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