Heat’s Jimmy Butler takes over after face-to-face altercation with Celtics’ Grant Williams
With 6:37 left in the fourth quarter, Grant Williams hit a three-point shot to give the Boston Celtics a 96-87 lead over the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
After knocking down the three, Williams had a few words for Miami star Jimmy Butler.
The six-time All-Star came down on the next possession and hit a shot of his own while being fouled by Williams.
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The two players exchanged words, going face-to-face before being separated.
And Butler took it personally.
Following Williams’ shot and subsequent trash talk, Butler scored nine points to close out the fourth quarter and the Celtics as Miami took a 2-0 series lead with a 111-105 victory on Friday night.
“Yes, it did,” Butler said when asked if the exchange got him going down the stretch, per ESPN. “But that's just competition at its finest. He hit a big shot, started talking to me. I like that. I'm all for that. It makes me key in a lot more. It pushes that will that I have to win a lot more. It makes me smile. It does.
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“When people talk to me, I'm like, ‘OK, I know I'm a decent player, if you want to talk to me out of everybody that you can talk to.' But it's just competition. I do respect him, though. He's a big part of what they try to do. He switches. He can shoot the ball. I just don't know if I'm the best person to talk to.”
Williams, who made Boston’s final three field goal attempts, said he wouldn’t be running away from the matchup with Butler as the series heads to Miami.
“I’m a competitor. I’m going to battle. He got the best of me tonight. At the end of the day, it’s out of respect,” Williams said after the game. “Because I’m not going to run away from it. My mom always taught me, and my dad as well, you get your a– kicked, you don’t come back home until you come to battle again. You either come back before you die or you come back and get a win, and I'm not willing to die in this finals.
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“I'm ready to f—— get a win. I'm ready to come back and come into Game Three with a better mentality, and I know this team is as well. So, at the end of the day, tonight is tonight. We've got to focus in and let this s— hurt, but at the end of the day, we've gotta come in tomorrow and really focus on what's next.”
The Celtics are now 4-5 at home during the 2023 NBA Playoffs as the seven-game series shifts to Miami on Sunday for Game 3.