Jimmy Butler misses practice for personal reasons ahead of Heat play-in game

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat looks on against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on April 04, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. 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 Nic Antaya/Getty Images) (Nic Antaya, 2023 Nic Antaya)

MIAMI – The Miami Heat spent Thursday preparing for their do-or-die game against the Chicago Bulls with one notable exception: Jimmy Butler.

The Heat star and All-NBA candidate sat out Thursday’s practice for personal reasons.

The team says he is expected to play Friday night when the Heat welcome the Bulls to town with the season on the line.

Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra hinted that there could be lineup changes after Miami lost to Atlanta in their first play-in game on Tuesday night.

Spoelstra said, “Everyone is in this thing and wants to earn it. If you’re a competitor, regardless of the circumstances of how you got to this point, you do want to embrace this. It’s high-level competition. I think these kind of environments are fun for the players, coming off a tough loss the other night.... This is what it’s all about as a competitor.”

Miami finished the regular season 0-3 against the Bulls.

Guard Tyler Herro talked about the matchup, “They can hurt you in so many different ways. I feel like we’ve played them well. We’ve lost all three but we played them well. We’ve learned from all our loses. I think we’ll be a good matchup.”

Herro said the Heat need to limit turnovers.

Bam Adebayo talked about the Heat’s mood following their loss to Atlanta, “I was disappointed, obviously. That was one mood. But today, everyone has a different mindset, everyone’s in the gym, and we’re looking for a W.”

Adebayo added, “Win-or-go-home, that’s the excitement of the play-in.”

Adebayo said the Bulls pack the paint and the Bulls have had the best defense since the All-Star Break because of it.

About the Author:

Clay Ferraro joined the Local 10 News team in 2014 to take his dream job: covering big-time sports at a first-class station in paradise.