Heat guard Jimmy Butler aims to play ‘exact opposite’ on Friday

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Heat guard Jimmy Butler aims to play 'exact opposite' on Friday against Bulls

Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler is frustrated over his team’s 116-105 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Tuesday night’s play-in tournament matchup. The six-time All-Star ended his outing with 21 points, four rebounds, nine assists, and two steals in 38 minutes of action.

Kyle Lowry led the Heat in scoring with 33 points in the same number of minutes off the bench. Miami now hosts the Chicago Bulls at home on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. The losing team will be eliminated from the playoffs. Entering this second play-in tournament contest, Miami’s confidence should be at an all-time low.

Based on a few NBA betting sites, the Heat have 13th-ranked odds to win the championship. Some sportsbooks are showing greater odds for the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks.

“We’d have to stay confident,” Jimmy Butler said. “We have to know we are capable of winning, if we start out the right way and if we rebound obviously. But it’s just, I don’t know, shots don’t go in, we foul — that’s never the recipe for success with us. So come Friday, we’ve got to play, like, legit the exact opposite that we played tonight.”

Atlanta outscored the Heat 36-27 in the opening quarter and outrebounded them 63-39. “Rebounding was just horrendous,” Butler added. “We didn’t put body on body, and they got all the rebounds, all the second-chance points. And that was the game.”

Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler strives to play the ‘exact opposite’ on Friday at home against the Chicago Bulls

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was also disappointed in his team’s performance. “There’s probably been a little bit more than a half-dozen times, maybe eight to 10 times, where we have not rebounded where it has just been absolutely crippling, in terms of how it’s hurt us,” said the veteran coach.

“We definitely have to get to the film and go back to all the fundamentals. We knew coming into this game, this game would be decided [by] ball in the air, ball on the floor, and it certainly was.” Atlanta’s largest lead of the game was by 24 points.

Furthermore, Chicago is 8-3 ATS in its past 11 matchups against Miami. Plus, the Bulls are 20-27 as an underdog this season. On the other side, the Heat are 15-5 SU in their previous 20 games played at home on a Friday. Not to mention, Miami is 27-15 at home and 37-23 as a favorite.

Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Heat have a 52.6% chance of defeating Chicago at home. Sportsbooks show Miami as a 5.5-point favorite for this play-in game. However, the Bulls are 3-0 in their last three head-to-head meetings versus the Heat.

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