NBA

A win is a win – Butler relieved to end losing streak as Heat boost playoff prospects

By Sports Desk April 02, 2023

Jimmy Butler said the win is all that matters as the Miami Heat boosted their playoffs standing, while simultaneously damaging the Dallas Mavericks' own postseason hopes.

The Heat entered Saturday's contest with a three-game losing streak, but fought for a 129-122 victory at the FTX Arena.

That was despite the slumping Mavericks shooting at 61 per cent, marking only the second time the franchise has ever lost when shooting at least 60 per cent including the playoffs (30-2 all time).

Butler led the way with 35 points and 12 assists, while Cody Zeller (20 points), Kevin Love, Max Strus (both 18) and Tyler Herro (15) all contributed.

The Heat are seventh in the East, have a three-game buffer over the Atlanta Hawks for the final play-in spot, and are only a game back of the Brooklyn Nets in sixth to avoid the play-in altogether – although, due to a superior head-to-head record, the Nets only need to go 3-2 at the end of the season to hold on.

After the game Butler, said: "A win is a win. 

"I don't like the fact that they shot 61 per cent, but I do like the fact that we finally won a game."

Head coach Erik Spoelstra added: "I wouldn't necessarily have drawn it up this way."

The Mavericks, like the Heat, made the Conference Finals last season but find themselves in a real battle just to make the postseason this time around.

Defeat leaves them 11th in the West, one game back of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Luka Doncic was once again impressive with 42 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, with Tim Hardaway Jr (31) and Kyrie Irving (23) adding heftily to the tally.

But head coach Jason Kidd was not impressed with his team's performance at the other end of the court.

"Our defense was non-existent. Couldn't get stops," he said.

Hardaway Jr tried to rally his teammates, saying: "[We've] just got to play hard, play with desperation and anything can happen. Anything can happen."

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