Jimmy Butler speaks out on Miami Heat’s mentality after Game 3 loss to Denver Nuggets

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After achieving an impressive comeback win in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat came up short in Game 3 to the Denver Nuggets, 109-94, and suddenly they’re in some trouble.

It was a dismal performance for them, and afterward, Jimmy Butler talked about his team’s mindset moving forward and what it needs to do to get a win next time.

“We feel great,” Butler said. “We didn’t play our best tonight. I feel like we just gotta come out with more energy and effort, and that’s correctable. That’s on us as a group. No X’s and O’s can fix that. So come out, dive on the floor, get loose balls, get defensive rebounds and maybe, just maybe, it would’ve been a different game.”

Early on, the Heat were pretty competitive, and it looked like the contest would be a dogfight. Denver started to get things going a bit in the second quarter and had a 53-48 lead at halftime, but the fact that it was a close, low-scoring game seemed to bode well for the Heat.

Instead, they came out weak in the third quarter and fell behind by a sizable margin, and they simply weren’t able to catch up in the fourth quarter. Lately, they have been excellent at overcoming late deficits, but they couldn’t get it done on this night.

Miami now trails the best-of-seven series two games to one, making Game 4 at home a virtual must-win for it.

Butler played a strong game, at least statistically, with 28 points on 11-of-24 shooting. But he got virtually no help offensively, as Bam Adebayo shot just 7-of-21 from the field.

Butler and Adebayo were the only Heat players to score more than 10 points, and as a team, they shot 37.0 percent from the field.

In this series, as well as in the previous series versus the Boston Celtics, Miami’s offensive woes from the regular season have periodically reemerged. It was the only team to average less than 110 points a game in the regular season, and it struggled from 3-point range.

But the most glaring deficiency came on the boards, where Miami was outrebounded 58-33.

Meanwhile, for the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic had yet another triple-double, and Jamal Murray had one of his own while scoring 34 points. Most seem to agree that limiting Jokic’s assists is Miami’s best chance at winning the NBA championship.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.