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Heat star Jimmy Butler had led Miami to a convincing 3-0 series lead over Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
Butler, who has trolled Boston’s Al Horford and Grant Williams after the latter “poked the bear” earlier in the series, has taken his performance to the next level during this postseason.
With one more win, the No. 8 seed Heat (who aren’t the playoff Cinderella you think they are) will knock off the No. 2-seeded Celtics. What is wild here is that it would not be the first time that Butler has eliminated Mazzulla in a must-win scenario.
Heat star Jimmy Butler and Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla met back in the @BIGEASTMBB Tournament.
The Heat now lead the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals 3-0.
(h/t @jeremytache) pic.twitter.com/Ylu3SNNjIk
— CBS Sports College Basketball 🏀 (@CBSSportsCBB) May 22, 2023
As noted by Heat reporter Jeremy Taché, back in 2011 when Mazzulla was a senior, his West Virginia Mountaineers faced off against the Marquette Golden Eagles in the Big East Conference tournament.
Mazzulla, a starter who played all 40 minutes during the game, lost the game. He finished the game with eight points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal, as well as six turnovers.
Here is a photo from the game of Mazzulla attempting to score while he is being defended by Jae Crowder. Nearby in the paint, Jimmy Butler is boxing out hoping to potentially snag the defensive rebound.
Marquette, led by Butler and Crowder, won the match and they were able to advance to the next round of the conference tournament. They then received an at-large bid to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16.
West Virginia, meanwhile, later lost in the third round of March Madness.
Mazzulla began coaching as an assistant at the Division II level the following year. Butler, however, was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bulls.
NBA content from around the USA TODAY Sports network.
Meet NBA draft sleeper Brandin Podziemski, who used the transfer portal to make himself a pro. We caught up with the NBA Draft Combine standout for more:
“He recorded 10 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, and two steals while also connecting on two of his 3-pointers. Podziemski made impressive shots off the bounce and didn’t have any turnovers. It was exactly the performance that front-office executives and scouts would want to see.
‘I can be a really good role player my first year,’ Podziemski told For The Win during a recent interview.
Podziemski also showcased his athleticism, finishing with a 39.0-inch max vertical leap, per Stadium Speak, which ranked in the 89th percentile among all participants in the NBA Draft Combine since 2000.
‘I’m gonna surprise a few people with my athletic ability,’ he said.
After a 26-year gap between draft picks from Steve Nash to Jalen Williams at Santa Clara, the WCC program could potentially have a first-rounder selected in back-to-back seasons.”
One to Watch
(All odds via Tipico.)
Lakers (-3.5, -155) vs. Nuggets (+3.5, +135), O/U 224.5, 8:30 PM ET
The last thing you want to do is get swept while at your home arena, but with the way this series is looking, LeBron James and Anthony Davis may have to start thinking about their offseason plans soon.
— Jamal Murray had the coldest response to being asked about burying the Lakers’ season
— Jack Nicholson giving the crowd a thumbs up at Lakers-Nuggets immediately became a meme
— NBA fans roasted LeBron James and Anthony Davis for wearing matching shirts after Game 3 loss
— Charles Barkley shot down Gabe Vincent when he tried to be humble about the bumbling Celtics