The Miami Heat need Jimmy Butler at his best to compete against the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals.
The Nuggets took Game 1 thanks to big performances by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
Butler barely scored 13 points with Aaron Gordon taking the responsibility to guard the swingman.
This isn’t the first time Butler underperformed this postseason, as he’s been inconsistent after starting the playoffs red hot.
Stats show that Butler hasn’t played at the same level after those first nine games, scoring almost 10 fewer points per game over this period.
Jimmy Butler’s first 9 games of the 2023 playoffs:
31.9 PPG – 6.4 RPG – 5.6 APG
55% FG – 39% 3PT
Jimmy Butler’s last 9 games of the 2023 playoffs:
23.3 PPG – 7.6 RPG – 6.0 APG
41% FG – 32% 3PT
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) June 4, 2023
This is worrisome for the Heat, who need their star if they have a chance against the Nuggets.
Things might have changed for Butler after he rolled his ankle against the New York Knicks.
Perhaps that injury keeps bothering him, but he has stated that he won’t use that as an excuse.
Game 2 will be a good test for Butler, as the Nuggets plan to take a 2-0 lead while the Heat will try to tie the series.
Butler is expected to play way better than he did in Game 1, and he already stated that the Heat will get to four wins regardless of how the series started.NEXT: Mike Malone Makes His Thoughts Clear About Bam Adebayo