Heat guard Jimmy Butler (questionable) expected to play vs. Celtics

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Heat guard Jimmy Butler believes defense is holding team back

Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler (questionable) is expected to play in Friday night’s road matchup against the Boston Celtics. The six-time All-Star has missed the last seven games due to a knee injury.

In addition to Butler, other Heat players listed as questionable include Dewayne Dedmon (foot) and Nikola Jovic (foot). Victor Oladipo (knee) and Omer Yurtseven (ankle) remain out indefinitely.

According to some NBA betting sites, the Heat possess the 13th-best odds to win the championship in 2023. Check out which sportsbooks show better odds for the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Moreover, Duncan Robinson (ankle), Haywood Highsmith (ankle), Tyler Herro (ankle), Max Strus (shoulder), and Gabe Vincent (knee) are currently listed as probable.

Butler has made starts in 13 games this season. He is averaging 20.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.8 steals. Also, the guard is shooting 48.3% from the field and 35.5% outside the arc.

Furthermore, the 12-year veteran is averaging a career-high true shooting percentage of 61.7%. Prior to his injury, Butler recorded two double-doubles.

Heat guard Jimmy Butler is expected to play against the Celtics at TD Garden on Friday

On Nov. 10, in the Heat’s 117-112 win over the Charlotte Hornets, the guard finished with a season-high 35 points in 43 minutes of action. Along with grabbing 10 boards, Butler went 11-of-19 (57.9%) shooting from the floor and missed a shot from deep.

Four days later, in Miami’s 113-112 loss to the Phoenix Suns, Butler ended his performance with 16 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one block in 35 minutes. He shot 5-of-12 (41.7%) from the field and 1-of-2 (50%) from three-point range.

On Wednesday, the Celtics defeated the Heat 134-121. Jayson Tatum recorded his 14th career regular-season game with at least 40 points. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra knows what his team is capable of when healthy.

“That’s the bar,” Spoelstra said on his players struggling to find their rhythm. “Now we have to figure out how to overcome that to get a win,” Spoelstra said. “Once they started knocking down a few, then everybody got involved in that.”

In 41 minutes played, Butler scored 18 points in Miami’s 111-104 loss to the Celtics on Oct. 21.

Through 22 games this season, the Heat are 10-12 and rank 10th overall in the Eastern Conference. They are 1-7 as an underdog, 2-8 away, and 4-6 against the spread away.

The Celtics are on a five-game win streak. As for the Heat, they’ve won three of their last four games. However, Miami is 1-8 in its past nine road games. The C’s have won their previous 10 contests at TD Garden as well.