The Celtics held a six-point lead midway through the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals when Grant Williams hit a key three-pointer to give Boston a 96-87 advantage.
Playing with confidence, Williams decided to face Jimmy Butler as the two ran down the court. However, the tense moment ushered in the “Playoff Jimmy” version of Butler’s game as the Heat outscored the Celtics 24–9 in the final 6:37 of the game to steal the win.
When Williams was asked about his exchange with Butler after the loss to the Celtics, he simply stated that the two competed, and that Butler “made some tough shots.”
“I think he said something and I just responded,” Williams said, eachNBC Sports Boston. “I’m a competitor. I will fight. He got the best of me tonight. At the end of the day, it is out of respect because I will not run away from it. My mom always taught me, as well as my dad, you know you’re a– you get kicked, you don’t come home until you get to war again.
"I respect him as a motherf**** player"
Grant Williams gives the truth about his beef with Jimmy Butler pic.twitter.com/fmSOgcnsY8
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 20, 2023
And even though he lost Game 2, Williams said he has no plans to back down from the 33-year-old.
“Definitely, ‘you punched the bear,’ and how do you respond … He made some tough shots,” WilliamsSAYS. “This is a war. I will keep fighting. He’s going to have to make every single tough shot the rest of the series because I’m not going to turn around and look the other way. … I respect him as a motherf—— player.”
Butler finished the game with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists in Game 2 after tallying 35 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the Game 1 victory in Miami. After a second straight stellar performance amid a postseason full of them, Butler said his exchange with Williams inspired him as he sparked the Heat’s comeback victory.
“It makes me reason a lot more and it pushes me to want to win a lot more,” ButlerSAYS on the Williams exchange. “I smiled… I do respect him [Williams]… I just don’t know if I’m the best person to talk to.”
Williams and the Celtics need more than the conversation if they hope to make a Finals appearance, with Butler and the Heat returning to South Florida with a 2-0 series lead.