Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler Uncertain for Game 3

The best player of the 2023 postseason's availability remains in question. Speaking with media Friday, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra would not reveal whether Jimmy Butler was practicing on his injured ankle but acknowledged that the six-time All-Star intends to play in Saturday's matchup with the New York Knicks.

Butler dominated the Heat's opening-round series against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, tallying 37.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in the shocking 4-1 upset. He was similarly solid in the Heat's second-round opening matchup against the Knicks, compiling 25 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists in a 108-101 victory. Unfortunately, he picked up an ankle injury that cost him Game 2, which the Knicks won 111-105.

Few players are as capable of elevating their play in the postseason as Butler. Since joining the Heat in 2019, Butler has averaged 25.1 points per game with a .496 field goal percentage in the playoffs compared to 21.5 points per game with a .495 field goal percentage in the regular season. He even spurred the Heat to a surprising Finals berth following the 2019-20 season.

As the series moves to Miami, the Heat will likely need Butler on the court in order to swing the series in their favor. No player was more crucial to his team's opening-round success than Butler, and the Heat will need to make the most of their upcoming home games. The Knicks hold home-field advantage for Game 7.

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