NBA Finals

Bruised Butler vows to bounce back after Lakers mauling

Agence France-Presse
Bruised Butler vows to bounce back after Lakers mauling
‘We talk about how damn near perfect that we have to play, and that was nowhere near it,’ says Heat star Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler called on his battered and bruised Miami Heat teammates to toughen up after their Game 1 mauling by the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals on Wednesday, September 30 (Thursday, October 1, Philippine time).

Miami talisman Butler was one of several players who picked up knocks during an emphatic 116-98 defeat in Orlando which saw key Heat players Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo both exit with injuries.

Butler played down the significance of his twisted ankle, and said the team would have to recover with or without Dragic in Game 2. (READ: Dragic suffers left plantar tear, may miss rest of NBA finals)

“We just got to be tougher,” Butler said. “We got to put up more of a fight. I don’t think we did that. And then it doesn’t help whenever we don’t make shots. 

“It’s been that way all year long, whenever we start to miss a couple shots, we don’t do what we’re supposed to do on the other end.”

Dragic had reportedly suffered a torn plantar fascia, a foot injury which would almost certainly rule him out of the remainder of the best-of-seven series.

A defiant Butler said Miami had enough depth to counter the loss of the Slovenian shooting guard if confirmed.

“We got to try to cover up what he gives us and make up for it,” Butler said.

“We’re capable of it. We have to be. Moving forward with or without Goran we better hurry up and tie it up 1-1.”

Butler also said the Heat were clear on what needed to be improved.

“We talk about how damn near perfect that we have to play, and that was nowhere near it,” he said.

“There’s nothing to be said. We can watch all the film in the world, we understand, we know what we did not do.

“We didn’t rebound, we didn’t make them miss any shots, we didn’t get back, all of those things led to the deficit that we put ourselves in.”

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said a string of mistakes had left his team with too much ground to make up as the Lakers surged into a 32-point lead at one stage. (READ: Dominance and verve: How the Lakers won Game 1)

“There were too many possessions where it was either a poor offensive possession or a miss that led to a couple of poor possessions defensively or vice versa, and those stacked on top of each other,” he said.

“We’re much better than we showed tonight. I don’t have my message right now, but I’ve got a night to figure it out.” –

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