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Jimmy Butler questionable to play Friday at Boston

Butler has missed Miami’s last seven games.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, who met in the Eastern Conference Finals in both 2020 and 2022, are seeing each other again now. After Miami fell to the Celtics last night behind a 49-point performance from Jayson Tatum, the two teams will meet again tomorrow night.

And Jimmy Butler, who propelled the Heat to a superb 47-point, 9-rebound, 8-assist night in Game 6 of that series this past May, is officially listed as questionable to play. He’s missed the Heat’s last seven games with a knee injury.

Butler’s possible return tomorrow night will be welcome. He’s one of the best two-way players in the league. Assuming he plays, Miami’s defense should gain some toughness and intensity.

The Heat played well for much of the night Wednesday, but a Celtics offensive rebound would lead to a backbreaking 3-pointer to keep any Miami run at bay. One downside of using the zone as liberally as Erik Spoelstra has used it is the risk of giving up offensive rebounds.

Of course, another player who would allow the Heat to play more man-to-man defense is Victor Oladipo. He won’t play tomorrow night, but Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tweeted that the two-time All Star had a long pregame workout. Who knows when he’ll actually suit up?