“I’m going to bring a championship to the team,” Butler emphasized after the game in Game 2 of the 2020 season’s Eastern Conference finals. on Sept. 18, 2020, the Heat led the Celtics 2-0 for the 17th time in team history, after winning the series 16 times.
The first time Butler said he would win the championship was 18 days ago, on August 31, 2012, when he was interviewed by the NBA’s official website. At that time, the eastern semifinals a not yet played, data sites give the probability of advancement: Heat 21%, Bucks 79%.
Like the probability of this prediction, almost no one favors the Heat, and the only suspense seems to be the Bucks, who have the league’s top record, eliminating the Heat with a few games.
Eighteen days ago, it was against this backdrop that Butler told reporters on his official website, “I don’t need an MVP, I don’t care what anyone thinks. No trophy means anything except the O’Brien trophy. Man, I’m going to be a champion, and I mean it, and I think we can do something special here.”
Butler didn’t go back on his word as they became the first team to reach the division finals by eliminating the championship favorite Bucks with a 4-1 overall score. From that moment on, Butler and his Heat team, finally raised everyone’s alarm.
So far in the playoffs, the Heat are 10-1, the second 10-1 start in their playoffs team history, the last time being in 2005. What’s different is that the 2005 Heat, led by O’Neal and Wade, were the top seed in the East, while this season’s Heat are the No. 5 seed in the East.
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A set of statistics given by expert Justin Kuabatko highlights even more the magic of the Heat’s playoff performance. Winning 10 of the first 11 games in the playoffs has happened 15 times since 1984. Of the first 14 teams to get off to such a fantastic start, 12 were top seeds and the other two were No. 2 seeds. Only this year’s Heat is a No. 5 seed.
The unheralded Butler, who led the unheralded Heat to an incredible playoff performance. 7 years ago, Butler, then a Bulls player, hated the Heat so much that he said in an interview that the one piece of clothing he would never wear in his life was a Heat jersey.
Seven years later, he not only wore the jersey, but also became the leader of this team, the U.S. media SlamStudio flirted with the idea that Butler, who made a statement in 2013 that he would never wear a Heat jersey, is now on the road to getting the Heat to retire his jersey in the future.