Jimmy Butler is projecting chill vibes after the Heat lost Game 1 to the Nuggets but Miami needs to recognize they’re in trouble in the NBA Finals.
In a seven-game series, you don’t have to win Game 1 or Game 2 on the road to win the series. In that sense, the Miami Heat should feel calm after dropping the first game in the NBA Finals.
Jimmy Butler is certainly acting that way, telling reports that the team is “laughing” and “smiling” despite the loss.
“Down 0-1, we know we’re gonna get to four. We’re in there laughing, in there smiling knowing that we could play better and we will play better,” Butler said.
Jimmy Butler and the Heat have to be serious about the Nuggets
Still, Butler’s happy-go-lucky approach has its downsides. There’s an important difference between belief and delusion and the Heat need to make sure they stay on the right side of that line.
They were too casual with putting away the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, allowing a 3-0 lead to evaporate then expending far more energy than they needed to win the series in the end.
The Nuggets are not a team to mess around with. They were the best team in the Western Conference this season and they proved their mettle by rolling easily through the opposition on their side of the bracket.
The Heat are the scrappy No. 8 seed that’s taken advantage of the flawed powers in the Eastern Conference like the Bucks and Celtics. Denver is a different animal led by a player at the height of his powers in Nikola Jokic.
The Nuggets haven’t lost at home in the playoffs. So the Heat could theoretically survive dropping Game 2 as well, their opportunities to steal home court advantage are finite. They won’t be laughing much longer if they miss their chance.