Back-to-back home losses have left Miami staring down the barrel of a 3-1 series deficit against Denver in the NBA Finals. Unless they can win their next three games in a row, the Heat will fall agonizingly short of a championship.
But as has been the case throughout their remarkable postseason run, they are refusing to give in just yet.
“[There’s] no doubt. We don’t have any of that,” star forward Jimmy Butler said after the defeat in Game 4. “We don’t have no quit. We’re gonna continually fight, starting tomorrow, to get better. And then we’re going to go on to Monday and do what we said we were gonna do this entire time and win.
“We have to. We have no other choice. Otherwise, we did all of this for no reason.”
“We don’t have no quit…We’re gonna go into Monday and do what we said we were going to do this entire time and win.”
Jimmy Butler following Miami’s Game 4 loss pic.twitter.com/EK3TUiN1lP
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 10, 2023
It’s not the first time the Heat have had their backs against the wall this postseason.
They needed a second-half rally against the Bulls in the Play-In Tournament to avoid missing the playoffs entirely. Then, they went out and took down the 2-seeded Celtics on the road in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. That win came despite losing the previous three games in a row to nearly blow a 3-0 series lead.
At this point, it feels like this team plays best when everyone else has written them off.
“We’ve done everything the hard way, and that’s the way it’s gonna have to be done right now, again,” head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after Friday night’s loss. “All we’re going to focus on is getting this thing back to the 305. Get this thing back to Miami and things can shift very quickly.
“It’s going to be a gnarly game in Denver that is built for the competitors we have in our locker room. By the time we get on that plane, all we’re thinking about is getting this thing back to Miami.”
“We’ve done everything the hard way, and that’s the way it’s gonna have to be done again. All we’re going to focus on is getting this thing back to the 305. Get this things back to Miami and things can shift very quickly.”
Erik Spoelstra on his message to the Heat.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 10, 2023
Only 13 teams have ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win an NBA Playoff series. Only one of those came in the NBA Finals, with LeBron James and the Cavaliers storming back against the Warriors in 2016 to capture their first title in franchise history.
But as far as Butler is concerned, the Heat have everything it takes to become the second.
“We really do believe in one another and ourselves as individuals,” he said. “We’ve done some hard things all year long — in this playoff run, as well. And now it’s like the hardest of the hard. But, like we always say, the things that you want is on the other side of hard. … So that’s where we’re at. That’s our reality, so we’ve got to go out and win three straight.”
“That’s our reality so we’ve got to go out and win 3 straight.”
— NBA (@NBA) June 10, 2023
Perhaps Miami’s miraculous run is finally coming to an end. But after all we’ve seen in this year’s postseason, count the Heat out at your own risk.