Miami's Jimmy Butler (ankle) cleared to return for Game 3

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Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) smiles on the bench in the final minute of the second half of Game 1 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series against the New York Knicks, Sunday, April 30, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

MIAMI – Jimmy Butler was cleared to return to the Miami Heat lineup on Saturday, in time for him to play in Game 3 of his team’s Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Knicks.

Butler sprained his right ankle with about 5 minutes left in Miami’s Game 1 victory. He did not play in Game 2 on Tuesday, when New York evened the series.

In six playoff games so far this season, Butler is averaging 35.5 points on 59% shooting, with 6.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Butler had a career-high 56-point effort against Milwaukee in Game 4 of Round 1, followed by a 42-point outburst two nights later as the eighth-seeded Heat eliminated the top-seeded Bucks.

Butler entered Saturday as the No. 2 scorer in this season’s playoffs, behind only Phoenix’s Devin Booker — who is averaging 36.9 points and passed Butler for the top spot by scoring 47 in the Suns’ win over Denver on Friday night.

The Heat ruled Udonis Haslem out for Game 3 with a stomach illness. Miami is also without Victor Oladipo (knee) and Tyler Herro (hand).


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