5 Post-Practice Comments from Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic

The Miami Heat are officially playing the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals starting Tuesday, after Boston took down the Toronto Raptors in game seven. Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic spoke about the match-up with the Boston Celtics with media today after practice. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Goran Dragic discussed Miami’s defensive match-ups with the Boston Celtics. He said, “We have a lot of guys who can guard multiple positions and I think we have the right guys who can defend their guys.” This mainly has to do with the amount of two-way wings that are on this current Heat roster, especially since they acquired Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala at the trade deadline. Boston’s biggest strength is the amount of versatile wings as well, but with Gordon Hayward out, it hurts that depth slightly. Goran also mentioned that he thinks they can still improve on the defensive side of the ball, which is something that Bam talked about yesterday.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Goran also touched on the planning for Jayson Tatum, as they did for Giannis Antetokounmpo. He said, “We cannot just throw the whole defense at him and forget about the other guys.” And that’s what they did against Milwaukee, since the Bucks role guys are not as offensively sound as Boston’s roster is. He also said, “They have a lot of guys who feed off of him and he’s proved he’s an all around player. It’s gonna have to be team defense.” And a lot of that is going to start with the defense of Goran. He is someone who struggles on the defensive end, which will allow Kemba Walker to attack and do what he does best. But since Boston runs a lot of stuff through a high pick and roll, it’ll allow Bam to step up on different guards, which is where he thrives. This is what Goran means when mentioning “team defense.”

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Jimmy Butler got asked about the talent on the Celtics roster, and he gave a very Jimmy like answer. He said, “They’ve got some really good players, as do we.” But not only does Miami have talent, they have dogs. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. That’s where Miami gains their advantage. Jimmy also mentioned that “We damn sure have to take it a game at a time.” This is what they’ve done all throughout the playoffs, which has led them to an 8-1 record, but now it’s even more important. Game one will be a clear indication on how Miami must play the rest of the series, but ultimately their going to try and prepare the same way they have all season.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Jimmy Butler also talked about the Eastern Conference Finals from a larger perspective. He said, “We all think that we’re the better team, we all think that we’re supposed to be here.” Many players say this about their own teams, but Jimmy actually means it sincerely. He has the ultimate amount of trust and confidence in himself and his teammates. He also said, “Going into these games, it’s about us. We control our destiny right now.” This is basically what Jae Crowder said yesterday, when he said the only way they can be stopped is from within. Jimmy knows they control their own destiny, and now it’s up to him to step up against Boston.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Jimmy Butler capped off his media session today talking about being underdogs. He said, “That’s a term that everyone else uses. I think we can have a chip on our shoulder…We’re supposed to be here. We’re not underdogs, we’re competitors.” Every player on this team likes to find an edge to give them a mental advantage, but ultimately Jimmy and others hold themselves to a higher standard. They’re “not embracing underdogs,” since they knew they’d be here. And this isn’t the final destination. A finals appearance isn’t the ultimate goal either. Winning an NBA championship is what they are aiming for, and they won’t be satisfied otherwise.

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