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

The Miami Heat are without star guard Jimmy Butler on Sunday as they take on the Boston Celtics. 

Butler is dealing with a death in the family and will be away from the team. 

“Jimmy Butler has been granted a leave of absence as he deals with the death of a family member. Jimmy and his family ask for privacy at this point in time as they navigate this loss. Updates will be given when appropriate,” Bernie Lee, Butler’s agent, said in a statement. 

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Miami currently sits at 28-24 and is one game out of the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, which would keep them out of the NBA’s play-in tournament.

The Celtics have the best record in the NBA at 40-12 one year after losing to Miami in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals

Jimmy Butler plays against Washington

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla took over the team just before the start of the 2022-23 season after Ime Udoka was suspended for the entire season.

Mazzulla was officially named the organization’s 19th head coach last February after Boston removed the interim tag from his title.

Mazzulla took some heat in his first season as head coach for his management of games, but the Celtics have looked like the best team during the 2023-2024 NBA season.

“I don’t know about the minutiae of managing games, I just know that they have played very good basketball this year,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said on Sunday of Mazzulla and the Celtics. “They’ve been the most consistent team all year long. They present some challenges for sure offensively. They can spread you out. They attack.”

Joe Mazzulla talks with his players

“And then defensively, I think they’re just very underrated. I don’t think enough people talk about how stable and good their defense has been this season.”

Boston has won the first two of their three games against Miami this season.

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