Miami Heat fans were given the bad news at the start of the second half that star Jimmy Butler was ruled out due to knee inflammation.
The Miami Heat looked like they were the favorites to take Game 3 after a dominant first-half performance that gave them a 62-47 lead over the Boston Celtics. But then, once the second half began, there was one huge absence on the court — star Jimmy Butler.
The ESPN broadcast revealed that Butler has been ruled out by the Heat for the remainder of Game 3 due to right knee inflammation. With that, the Heat would have to go the rest of the way without their leading scorer.
Jimmy Butler ruled out for rest of Game 3 with right knee inflammation
Things got much worse for the Heat, as the Celtics began their furious comeback in the third quarter, cutting their deficit to nine points. However, Miami did end the third with an 87-72 lead entering the final 12 minutes of regulation.
At one point, it looked as though the Celtics were set to lose Marcus Smart, who rolled his right ankle. After being helped out to the back, Smart was shown being able to put weight on his foot and eventually returned onto the court.
In 20 minutes in the first half, Butler scored eight points (3-for-8 from the field), hauling in three rebounds, dishing out two assists and recording two steals.
Butler’s status will be worth monitoring after Game 3, especially to determine if he will miss any additional time.
UPDATE: After Game 3, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Butler’s knee injury is not viewed as serious and that there is a “strong possibility” that he does not miss any time.
Miami defeated Boston 109-103 to take a 2-1 series lead.