Jimmy Butler sends message as Miami Heat look to spark deep postseason run once again

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler delivered a message on Sunday with the start of the NBA postseason right around the corner.

Butler and the Heat will try to reach the NBA Finals for a second year in a row. In 2023, Miami became just the second No. 8 seed in the history of the league to reach the championship series.

In order to punch their ticket to last year’s NBA Finals, the Heat had to eliminate three teams who finished with more wins than they did during the 2022-23 regular season: the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. Miami’s first-round opponent — the Bucks — ended up with a league-best 58-24 record, yet lost to Butler and the Heat in five games.

But before Miami can focus on making its second consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals, the team must first turn its attention to securing a playoff spot by winning at least one game during the play-in tournament.

The Heat’s first (and perhaps only) opponent in the tournament will be Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in a matchup between the No. 8 and No. 7 seeds in the Eastern Conference.

Unfortunately for the Heat, the 76ers were clicking on all cylinders to end the 2023-24 regular season. The team won its last eight games and went 5-0 in games that Embiid played in during the month of April.

If the Heat were to lose their play-in game against the 76ers, they would play the winner of the game between the No. 9 and No. 10 seeds for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks will meet in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game.

Once again, the odds will be stacked against Butler’s Heat to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. But considering that the Heat are led by winning players like Butler and Bam Adebayo as well as a distinguished head coach in Erik Spoelstra, Miami is a team that no opponent should want to go up against in the opening round of the playoffs if the Heat get there.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.