Miami’s Jimmy Butler granted leave of absence for death of family member

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The Miami Heat are without prima defender Jimmy Butler connected Sunday arsenic they return connected nan Boston Celtics. 

Butler is dealing pinch a decease successful nan family and will beryllium distant from nan team. 

"Jimmy Butler has been granted a time off of absence arsenic he deals pinch nan decease of a family member. Jimmy and his family inquire for privateness astatine this constituent successful clip arsenic they navigate this loss. Updates will beryllium fixed erstwhile appropriate," Bernie Lee, Butler’s agent, said successful a statement. 

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Miami presently sits astatine 28-24 and is 1 crippled retired of nan sixth spot successful nan Eastern Conference, which would support them retired of nan NBA’s play-in tournament.

The Celtics person nan champion grounds successful nan NBA astatine 40-12 1 twelvemonth aft losing to Miami successful 7 games successful nan Eastern Conference Finals. 

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla took complete nan squad conscionable earlier nan commencement of nan 2022-23 play aft Ime Udoka was suspended for nan full season.

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Mazzulla was officially named nan organization’s 19th caput coach past February aft Boston removed nan interim tag from his title.

Mazzulla took immoderate power successful his first play arsenic caput coach for his guidance of games, but nan Celtics person looked for illustration nan champion squad during nan 2023-2024 NBA season.

"I don’t cognize astir nan minutiae of managing games, I conscionable cognize that they person played very bully hoops this year," Miami caput coach Erik Spoelstra said connected Sunday of Mazzulla and nan Celtics. "They’ve been nan astir accordant squad each twelvemonth long. They coming immoderate challenges for judge offensively. They tin dispersed you out. They attack."

"And past defensively, I deliberation they’re conscionable very underrated. I don't deliberation capable group talk astir really unchangeable and bully their defense has been this season."

Boston has won nan first 2 of their 3 games against Miami this season.