If there is one member of the Miami Heat that knows to expect a hostile environment in Philadelphia on Thursday night, it's Jimmy Butler.
As a former member of the Philadelphia 76ers, Butler has experienced the benefit of playing for the crowd firsthand. Therefore, he knows the boost that the energy can give to the home team.
Butler and the Miami Heat need one more win to close out their series against the Sixers and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
They could get that victory on Thursday night in South Philly after blowing out the 76ers at home on Tuesday night with a 35-point beatdown.
But Butler and the Heat know not to get too overly confident. After Game 5, Miami's head coach Erik Spoelstra made it clear that the Heat aren't overlooking the Sixers despite handing them a nearly 40-point loss.
Jimmy Butler echoed a similar sentiment as he made it known that every game has different circumstances when it comes to the playoffs.
“Each game is different," said Butler. "Like I told the team, we just did what we were supposed to do. I don’t think winning at home was a surprise to anybody."
In the second-round series between the Heat and the Sixers, the home team has won every game. In Games 1 and 2, Miami collected wins as they shot much better than the 76ers. Then in Games 3 and 4, the tables turned as the Heat struggled to hit shots from the field, allowing the Sixers to collect two wins.
While Game 5 was by far the biggest blowout of the series, which went in favor of the Heat, Butler anticipates a difficult environment on Thursday as they look to break the popular trend in the second round.
"Now, we’re supposed to go and win one on the road, do the hard job," Butler continued. "I think we’re capable of it if we get some stops, and then if shots fall. It’s a hard place to play. I’ve played there before being in a Sixers jersey. I know how that crowd gets. We have to go in there. We need this... we do.”
The Sixers and the Heat are set to tip-off at 7 PM on Thursday. If Miami fails to break the trend, then they'll get one final shot to put the Sixers away on Sunday in a Game 7 scenario.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.
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