The Miami Heat won’t have any starters in next month’s NBA All-Star game. It could be argued they don’t deserve one considering the team’s rough start to the year.
Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were loosely in the conversation to make the starting five for the Eastern Conference, but both players came up short in fan voting. Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid has been the favorite to garner NBA MVP honors and he’ll get the start at center after recording nearly 4.2 million votes (sixth-most among all players). Adebayo registered just 753,486 total votes (sixth-most among front-court players).
Meanwhile, Butler finished with only 938,855 votes (fifth-most among front-court players) and some of that can be pinned on the forward missing 10 games due to COVID-19 protocols. Kevin Durant (5.5 million) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (4.4 million) are penciled in as the two starting forwards for the East. Again, no surprises. Adebayo and Butler can still make the All-Star reserve list which will be announced on Feb. 23.
CBS Sports made a point to call out a few “weird votes and wonderful surprises” from Thursday’s voting results. Among the Heat-related musings, they pointed to Andre Iguodala and Duncan Robinson each receiving exactly one player vote. They pegged it to those guys voting for themselves, something every respectable NBA player should do. Seriously.
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Butler, Adebayo Record Triple-Doubles
All-Star starters or not, the tandem of Butler and Adebayo put on a clinic in fundamental basketball on Thursday night. Both players recorded triple-doubles against the Sacramento Kings: Butler (13 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds) and Adebayo (6 points, 10 assists, 12 rebounds). The Heat won the game 118-110 despite blowing a 15-point halftime lead.
The Heat teammates became the first players in NBA history to have triple-doubles in the same game multiple times, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They also did it against Atlanta on Dec. 10, 2019. For Butler, it marked his third consecutive triple-double as he passed Dwyane Wade for second place on the franchise’s all-time list with six.
“No, we were just out there playing,” Adebayo said when asked if he was aware of the triple-doubles. “We were trying to get a win. I feel like a win mattered more than the numbers did, so I’m glad we did the triple-double thing but I’m really appreciative of the W.”
Butler agreed and heaped extra praise on Adebayo for stepping up.
“I know with the ball in Bam’s hands, something good is going to happen. It definitely is,” Butler said. “If he can’t score, he’s making sure someone else can score, get an offensive rebound, good things can happen when Bam has the ball.”
Next Up, Rematch with the World Champions
The Los Angeles Lakers dispatched the Miami Heat in six games in last year’s NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble. The two squads will meet for the first time on Saturday night (8:30 p.m., Staples Center) on national TV in what should be a riveting rematch. But don’t think for a minute that revenge is driving anyone in that game. Miami has turned the page on last year’s magical run.
“I don’t think anybody is too worried about last year or what happened,” Butler said. “Yeah, we wanted to win. Yeah, we wanted to get a championship out of it. But this is a new year, both teams got a different team. We are going to be locked in on just that day and who can get that win.”
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra admitted that he hadn’t even brought it up to his guys. He’s been too busy trying to grind out wins during their exhaustive seven-game road trip.
“They’re a great team. If you’re a competitor you want to take on that challenge against the world champions,” Spoelstra said of the Lakers. “We’ve been so wrapped up in each one of these games on the road that I literally haven’t even given it a second thought to this point. But, yeah, I’m sure the guys will be looking forward to it.”