With the games close to becoming real, Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler felt it was best to show the fans what could be this season.
In his first significant action of the preseason, Butler led the Heat with 25 points in a 121-100 victory against the Boston Celtics Friday at FTX Arena. The Heat closed the exhibition schedule at 5-1, the only loss to the Atlanta Hawks when most of the rotation players were held out.
“It felt great just to get out there and hoop as a whole, just to get out with my guys,” Butler said. “Everybody’s starting to realize how real it gets now.”
The Heat can now turn their attention to the regular season, which begins Thursday at home against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks eliminated the Heat in the first round of last year's playoffs.
Butler was pulled after playing 25 minutes. Still, the Heat are aware it will be a while before the revamped roster gets acclimated.
“It takes some time,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s not like we’re all going to be on the same page right now. It will take time. But we have guys that have the right intent. Everybody is aiming for the same goal. Everybody wants the same thing.
Before Friday's win, the Heat finalized their roster by cutting Micah Potter, Javonte Smart, D.J. Stewart and Dru Smith, who could likely end up with the team's G League affiliate in Sioux Falls.
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