BOSTON -- Leave it to Jimmy Butler to remain supremely confident after back-to-back double-digit losses.
The Boston Celtics routed Butler's Miami Heat 110-97 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night, two days after a 116-99 victory in Game 4. The Celtics are just the 15th team in NBA history to force a Game 6 after trailing a series 3-0, and are two wins away from becoming the first team ever to come back from such a deficit.
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Butler won't be bothered by such realities, however -- or by the possibility of being on the wrong side of history. In the wake of Miami's lackluster effort at TD Garden, the Heat star declared his team will finish off the Celtics on Saturday night in Game 6.
"They were in a rhythm since the beginning of the game, but we're always going to stay positive knowing that we can and we will win this series," Butler said. "We'll just have to close it out at home."
Butler had arguably his worst game of the series, finishing with just 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting and playing just two minutes of the fourth quarter before riding out the rest of the game on the bench. But cameras caught a playful grin on his face late in the game despite the lopsided score.
This level of confidence is nothing new for Butler, of course: After his Heat lost to the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2022 East Finals, Butler famously declared Miami would be "right back in the same situation (in 2023), and we’re gonna get it done."
He then backed up that bold boast, leading the No. 8 seed Heat on a historic 2023 postseason run that included upsets of the No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks and No. 5 New York Knicks.
So, if anyone has earned the right to make a playoff guarantee, it's Butler. That said, the Celtics also have the right to put Butler's quote on a bulletin board as they fly to Miami for Game 6.
NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Game 6 begins Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, with tip-off at Kaseya Center set for 8:30 p.m. ET.