NBA Finals: Butler says 'I have to be ready to go' as Heat count loss of injuries

By Peter Hanson 1 October 2020 32
NBA Finals: Butler says 'I have to be ready to go' as Heat count loss of injuries

Jimmy Butler said "I got to be ready to go" after the Miami Heat's disappointment over a Game 1 blowout to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals was exacerbated by injury woes.

Veteran guard Goran Dragic sustained a reported plantar tear in his left foot and is a doubt for the remainder of the series, while Bam Adebayo left the game with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter clutching his shoulder.

All-Star Butler also turned his left ankle towards the end of the first half of the humbling 116-98 loss in Orlando but insisted he will be good to go for Game 2 on Friday.

"[I'm] a little bit sore. I'll be okay with some treatment. I'll get ready to go again," he said.

"I think I got to be ready to go. So, we'll see how it feels tomorrow, but I'm going to be fine."

Dragic's injury occurred in the second quarter when attempting to drive Rajon Rondo and initially tried to carry on before heading for treatment and not returning.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra did not have an update after the game and Butler said the Heat will rally around their team-mate but must be prepared to move forward in the series without him.

"[We'll] just let him know that I and we are here for him. We know how much he wants to win, how much he wants to go to war and battle with us," Butler added.

"Obviously we love him for that and we want him out there with us. But whatever the doctor tells him to do, that's what he's got to do.

"I understand that he wants to go out there and compete and obviously we want him out there with us. But he's got to take care of himself first.

"[We have to] be ready to go with or without Goran. We're still expecting to win. We still know that we can. We want that guy out there with us. He's a big part of what we're trying to do, but until we can have him back, we got to go out there and we got to fight even harder.

"We got to try to cover up what he gives us and make up for it. We're capable of it. We have to be capable of it. Moving forward with or without Goran we better hurry up and tie it up 1-1."

Spoelstra also said he was unsure if Adebayo's injury was the same one he sustained during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics or a fresh concern.

Butler acknowledges more of the burden to score may fall on his shoulders but said regardless the team has to be tougher in defense.

"I just take what the game gives me for the most part. I still have a lot of belief in all of my team-mates, I will continually play that way. But maybe so, maybe try to score a little bit more," Butler said.

"We just got to be tougher. We got to put up more of a fight. I don't think we did that. And then it doesn't help whenever we don't make shots.

"It's been that way all year long, whenever we start to miss a couple shots, we don't do what we're supposed to do on the other end.

"So, I think we should always think about letting our defense, for sure our rebounding, start it off for us and then hopefully we start to make shots."

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Peter Hanson

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