Jimmy Butler’s status remains a question mark ahead of Game 3 vs. the Knicks

The practice room has been a busy place this week for Miami, which has already lost shooting guard Victor Oladipo (knee) for the rest of the season and shooting guard Tyler Hero (hand) for several more weeks. Wingers Max Struss and Caleb Martin both dealt with some back pain at times in Game 2, but were able to finish the game.

„I’m fine,” Struss said Thursday. „There is nothing wrong with me.”

With no games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, it looks like a much-needed breather for both sides. New York’s Julius Randle returned for Game 2 with a sprained ankle, and point guard Jalen Brunson is playing with an ankle problem.

Thibodeau said Brunson „didn’t do much” in practice Thursday, adding that his status is day-to-day.

„I think the time off is good for us and fair for us,” Heat guard Kyle Lowry said. „We’re not complaining about that. I think it’s good for our team. I think it’s good for our brains to get a little break from that, but we can still get mental reps and everything, so it’s good from that aspect.

Lowry noted that he wouldn’t be surprised if Butler tries to play.

„I know how competitive he is,” Lowry said. „I’ll be optimistic, but who knows. Honestly, we have to go every day with Jimmy, so we’ll see what happens at 3:30 on Saturday.

Going back to the final two games of last season’s Eastern Conference finals, Butler was on a playoff tear. He averaged 36.9 points — and 40.5 minutes — over his last eight postseason games, 7.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists on 57% shooting from the field.

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In six playoff games so far this season, he’s averaging a league-best 35.5 points on 59% shooting to go along with 6.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. That included: a 56-point effort against Milwaukee in Game 4 of Round 1, followed by a 42-point outburst two nights later as the Heat became the first No. 8 seed in NBA history to go without more than one loss. game on the way to winning the No. 1 seed.

Butler’s 35.5-point average is just ahead of Phoenix’s Devin Booker, who will average 35.4 points per game in these playoffs heading into Friday’s Game 3 of the Suns’ Western Conference semifinal series against Denver.

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