Erik Spoelstra says he didn’t run a single play for Jimmy Butler over the 1st 3 quarters of Friday’s win

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Miami Heat star forward Jimmy Butler finally returned from injury for his team’s Friday clash versus the Boston Celtics, and he did not disappoint.

Miami used an extra frame to defeat the 18-5 Celtics, and Butler finished with an impressive 25 points and 15 rebounds in 35 minutes of playing time.

Following the game, Erik Spoelstra revealed that he didn’t run a single play for Butler until the fourth quarter of the game. Perhaps he was doing so to let Butler get back into the flow of the game after a rather lengthy absence due to injury.

“He’s such a winning player,” Spoelstra said. “Through the first three quarters, I didn’t run one play for him. He finds a way to compete and help your team win. He’s around the ball all the time, whether it’s an offensive rebound or cut or random pull up jump shot somewhere else.”

Butler definitely impressed in the game and helped his team earn a statement win on Friday. The six-time All-Star didn’t just impress with his point and rebound totals, but he also shot the ball quite efficiently. He went 12-for-21 from the field in the victory.

For the Heat, they are surely hoping that the win over Boston, a team that many consider to be the best in the league, will jump-start their 2022-23 campaign. Despite the win, the Heat are still just 11-12 on the season, good for the No. 9 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Without a doubt, they’d love to move up into the top six in the East so that they don’t have to worry about competing in the play-in tournament at the end of the regular season.

Having Butler back in the lineup will definitely help the Heat achieve that goal in the coming days and weeks.

Perhaps the one major positive to come out of Butler’s recent absence was the play of big man Bam Adebayo. Adebayo looked incredible at times during Butler’s absence, and he was a big part of the reason why the team managed to stay afloat during that stretch of games.

In the six games that Adebayo played in during Butler’s absence, he averaged 24.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He put in another great showing on Friday night with 28 points and seven boards.

If he can continue producing at that kind of level, the Heat will definitely start beating teams more often than they have been up to this point this season.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Heat Nation.