Erik Spoelstra on Jimmy Butler taking late 3: “That was the right look”
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.
Erik Spoelstra on Jimmy Butler's pull-up three in the final seconds: "I love that about Jimmy. ... That was the right look."— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) May 30, 2022
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.
Jimmy Butler on his final shot:— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) May 30, 2022
“My thought process was go for the win, which I did. Missed the shot, but I’m taking that shot. My teammates like the shot that I took, so I’m living with it.”
That shot scared Jaylen Brown.
Jaylen Brown on Jimmy Butler's last shot: "When he shot that I was like 'Man, what the hell.' But he missed, we got the rebound, and we move on."— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 30, 2022
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.