Heat lose first play-in game, and possibly Jimmy Butler

heat lose first play-in game, and possibly jimmy butler

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, left, hugs Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler on the court after a 76ers victory in a play-in game of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center.

The Miami Heat fell a point short in their play-in game against the Philadelphia 76ers. They may be a player short in their next play-in on Friday.

Jimmy Butler got hurt when Kelly Oubre Jr. landed on him late in the first quarter of Miami’s 105-104 loss to Philadelphia.

He wasn’t moving well the rest of the game after the injury, shooting 5-for-18 and scoring 19 points, though he did collect five steals. Butler only scored two points in the final quarter as the Heat were outscored 36-30 in the final period.

Butler generally plays through injuries this time of year. He rolled his ankle in the first game of the Heat’s second-round series against the New York Knicks last year, missed the next game, then played in every playoff game through the NBA Finals.

The Heat are already missing Terry Rozier, who hasn’t played for 10 days due to a neck injury. Duncan Robinson was cleared to play Wednesday after missing time with a back injury, but he ended up sitting out, so his availability is also in doubt.

Miami made it to the Finals after losing the first play-in game last season, but Butler’s injury really ramps up the degree of difficulty for their playoff run this year.

Miami prides itself on “Heat culture,” but it might be training room culture that determines if they can make the playoffs Friday.

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