Jimmy Butler, Heat not worried about doubters as they head into Play-In game with Atlanta

Kyle Lowry #7 and Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat react on the court during the third quarter of the game against the New York Knicks at Miami-Dade Arena on March 22, 2023 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) (Megan Briggs, 2023 Getty Images)

MIAMI – Jimmy Butler is not worried about the critics.

The Heat are getting ready to host the Atlanta Hawks in the Play-In game on Tuesday night.

With a win, the Heat will clinch a playoff showdown with the No. 2 seeded Boston Celtics.

With a loss, the Heat would have to host the winner of the Bulls-Raptors game. The loser of that game, would be eliminated.

Butler knows that people are counting the Heat out.

Butler said, “It’s all the same. Nobody picked us to win it last year, so who cares. Y’all aren’t going to pick us this year, still don’t give a damn. In 10 years, y’all aren’t going to pick us, still don’t give a damn.”

Butler has repeatedly proven his ability to take his game to another level in the playoffs.

Butler said, “I’m going to do whatever it takes for my team to win night in and night out. And honestly, I could care less what anyone writes if I’m a good basketball player or a bad basketball player. Coach Pat and Coach Spo didn’t bring me here because of what y’all write in the most respectful way possible. As I take on tomorrow’s matchup and we get that win, we’ll worry about what goes on down the line, but I think I’ll be a decent basketball player at the end of the day.”

Guard Kyle Lowry is a former Champion and has been in the league for over a decade.

Yet for Lowry, the Play-in is new.

Lowry said, “I think you treat it like the Playoffs. I’ve never been in this situation, but you treat it like it’s a Playoff game. It is a Game 7 for you, for us, for both teams involved... guys have to play like literally like a lives depending on it type of thing.”

Forward Kevin Love added, “It’s definitely different. Obviously, being the 7th seed isn’t win-or-go-home, but it feels like it. We have to make sure we keep the foot on the gas, thankfully we have home court, play a good game and we’ll be okay. It’ll be nice to take care of business tomorrow. It’s a situation we didn’t want to find ourselves in, but that’s the reality of it. We just need to come out and get one win tomorrow and set the stage for the rest of what we want to accomplish.”

About the Author:

David Lang is executive producer of the Local 10 sports department.