Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler insists his recent knee injury had nothing to do with his below-par performance in Monday's Game 4 defeat to Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The series is now tied at 2-2 ahead of Game 5 in Miami on Wednesday. The Heat can be backed at 31/20 to win the series and Boston are 4/7.
Boston claimed a convincing 102-82 win over Miami at TD Garden on Monday to level the series for the second time. The Heat were particularly poor in the first quarter as they manage just 11 points on 3-for-20 shooting and they were never able to force their way back into the game as Boston led from start to finish.
Butler is arguably enjoying his best postseason to date and is averaging a career-high 28.1 points-per-game in the playoffs but he was limited to just six points on Monday, making just three of his 14 shots.
The 32-year-old missed the entire second half of Miami's Game 3 win over the Celtics due to inflammation in his right knee, but Butler rejected the idea that his Game 4 struggles were due to his fitness.
"I'm straight," said Butler, via Mass Live. "No excuse for how I played tonight. It don't got nothing to do with my knee.
"I've just got to be better. I will be better. I'm not too worried about it."
Heat veteran Kyle Lowry managed just three points in 21 minutes as he made his second appearance of the series following a return from a hamstring issue.
Lowry accepts Miami simply weren't good enough in Game 4, but he is confident they will respond when Boston visit Florida.
He said: "We can't dwell on what happened. We have to figure out how to get better, move on to the next situations. They came out and they played better than us tonight. They protected their home court. We didn't do what we wanted to do tonight."