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Marquette In The 2023 NBA Playoffs: Play-In Rounds Edition

Tuesday night is a pretty big day for keeping track of former Golden Eagles in the playoffs this spring.

NBA: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Miami lost, 116-105, to Atlanta on Tuesday night in the 7th seed game. They will have to play again on Friday, where they will get the winner of Wednesday’s game between Chicago and Toronto. The winner of Friday’s game, which will be hosted by Miami, will be the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

UPDATE: Chicago defeated Toronto, 109-105, in Toronto on Wednesday night to advance to Friday’s #8 seed game in Miami. Zach LaVine had 39 points, six rebounds, and three assists to lead the Bulls, while Nikola Vucevic had a double-double and DeMar DeRozan added 23 points and seven rebounds.

Who’s ready for NBA Playoff Basketball??

Well, if not, you’ve got a little bit of time left, because the NBA is branding this THE PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT, which is somehow not the Playoffs, but also probably counts as the Playoffs in terms of stat tracking.

IN ANY CASE, that means it’s time to keep track of when the former Marquette players in The Association are in action, and as it happens, there’s two former Golden Eagles in action in the first night of the Play-In Tournament. They’re both on the same roster, which makes it very helpful for MU fans to make solid rooting decisions.

Here we go!

Jimmy Butler & Jamal Cain: Miami Heat

Miami finished the regular season with a record of 44-38, one game behind 6th place Brooklyn. That means they’re seventh, and that means a spot in the Play-In Tournament to decide the 7th and 8th seeds in the Eastern Conference. The good news for Miami is that they’re in seventh place, so they get to host eighth place Atlanta to decide who gets to be the #7 seed. The winner of Tuesday night’s game is the #7 seed, while the loser will have to play again on Friday night to decide who is the #8 seed. The loser from Tuesday night would get to be the host against the winner of Wednesday’s game between #9 and #10 in the standings, but y’know, you’d rather not do that if you’re the Heat.

Jimmy Butler has played in 64 of Miami’s games this season, starting in all 64. Most of the time he missed was back in November and December, although he didn’t play in Miami’s final two regular season games ostensibly because of a minor hand injury and then for rest before the playoffs. Coming down the stretch, Butler was averaging 24.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game for the Heat since January 27th. Perhaps most importantly for Miami, he was shooting 41% from long range, which is notable since he hasn’t finished a season north of 25% from three-point land since joining the Heat.

Jamal Cain is on a two-way contract with the Heat, and has been all season. That got him into 18 games this season, and he’s averaged 5.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in 13 minutes of action. Most of that action was back in November before the G-League season started, but Cain did play in each of Miami’s final three games. I don’t think that’s going to turn into minutes against Atlanta on Tuesday night, but I’m definitely not as good of a basketball brain as Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra.

Miami Heat vs Atlanta Hawks

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Time: 6:30pm Central
Location: Kaseya Center, Miami, Florida
Television: TNT

Miami Heat vs Chicago Bulls

Date: Friday, April 14, 2023
Time: 6pm Central
Location: Kaseya Center, Miami, Florida
Television: TNT