Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler, right, gets treatment on his right knee from the training staff during the first half of the team's NBA basketball play-in tournament game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 105-104. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
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Jimmy Butler says he wants to play in the NBA playoffs, though there’s no timetable for his return from a sprained MCL.

The Miami Heat forward spoke to TNT during a first-quarter stoppage of his team’s Eastern Conference first-round game against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, as he watched from the team’s bench area. Butler got hurt in the play-in round against Philadelphia and has missed all four Heat games since.

“I don’t know about a timeline, but we’ve been working,” Butler said during the televised interview. “I want to hoop. I want to get out here. I want some of this.”

The preliminary assessment on Butler was that he would miss multiple weeks because of the knee injury, which happened in the first quarter of the game at Philadelphia — before Butler played through it for the final three quarters of that game.

Butler has been getting treatment in the days since, but the team has not revealed any more specific timeframe about when he could play again.

Miami is playing this series without Butler and point guard Terry Rozier, who is sidelined with a neck injury. The Heat went to the NBA Finals last year as the eighth seed in the East, and Butler said the team’s confidence remains high even as a No. 8 seed taking on a Celtics team that finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record.

“I think we believe,” Butler said. “It’s everybody else that don’t.”

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On Saturday, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each scored 22 points to lead a balanced approach, and the Celtics soundly beat the Miami Heat 104-84 on Saturday night to a take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

“We didn’t make too many adjustments,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “We played a little bit harder, we played harder and we dictated the physicality and the tempo of the game. It’s the simple things that you have to do under a high level of stress, high level of adversity. I thought our guys did a great job of dictating that tonight.”

Game 4 is Monday in Miami, where the Celtics are 9-2 in their last 11 games and 6-1 in their last seven playoff games.

Tatum added 10 rebounds and six assists for the Celtics, who led Game 3 wire-to-wire and reclaimed the home-court edge that they lost when Miami won Game 2 in Boston. Kristaps Porzingis had 18 points and Derrick White scored 16 for the Celtics.

The last time either team saw these kind of numbers — Boston on defense, Miami on offense — was Game 5 of the East finals on May 25, 2022, a 93-80 Celtics road win that helped them reach that season’s NBA Finals. The Heat had scored more than 84 points in every game since and the Celtics had allowed more than 84 in every game since.

“That’s where we’re going to win games, on the defensive end,” Tatum said.

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