Erik Spoelstra on Jimmy Butler taking late 3: “That was the right look”

2022 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Miami Heat
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Jimmy Butler was the best player on the floor in Game 7 and had sparked the 11-0 Heat run that had them within two points of a trip to the Finals with less than :20 left in the game. When Butler got the chance to go for the win, he took it. In the game’s closing moments, Butler grabbed the rebound off a Marcus Smart miss, pushed the ball up in transition, had Al Horford back-peddling in the paint in front of him, and pulled up for a wide-open pull-up 3 to take the lead.

It’s a make-or-miss league, and this time Butler missed.

Instantly on the broadcast, ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy criticized Butler for not attacking Horford, getting to the rim and tying the game up.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra disagreed.

For Van Gundy to suggest Butler should have played it safe and gone for the tie and not the win is to say Butler should not do the thing that makes him great — there is no half-effort, no “let’s just try to extend this” in him. Butler had played all 48 minutes Sunday night and of course he was going to go for the win.

That shot scared Jaylen Brown.

And Butler had the support of other players just watching at home.

Nobody should blame Jimmy.

If you want to know what Spoelstra is mad about, ask him about the referees overturning a Max Strus 3 five minutes after the fact in the third.