It’s been an exhausting, rollercoaster season for the Miami Heat and with only a few games left in the regular season, the intense pressure for seems to be getting to team leader Jimmy Butler and head coach Erik Spoelstra.
While the Heat managed to eke out a win against the San Antonio Spurs 116-11 on April 28, it wasn’t without incident. Once again, Miami nearly blew the game in the fourth quarter which led Butler and Spoelstra to butt heads.
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“We got in a little predicament [Wednesday night], but it’s nothing new,” Butler said. “Everything’s not all good all the time. But we both want to win; we both have the same agenda. So I think that he’s helping me grow a tremendous amount, talking about leadership as a player and what to look for with my guys.”
Coach Spo Admits This Year Has Been ‘Really Challenging’ For Both Him & Butler
Spoelstra exuded Heat culture when asked about his altercation with Butler, mentioning how this season has been particularly rough on everyone and focusing on the positives.
“This year has presented both of us with a much different challenge than last year,” Coach Spo said. “We’re dealing with a different kind of season and a lot of different adversities. That’s been really challenging. I think we both have grown.”
“[Butler] has such vast experience and a great IQ and feel for the game, and how to manage a game and manipulate a game, and to do that on both ends,” Spoelstra continued. “One, it’s been a joy to watch and to experience that. All the great players in the history of this game, especially the ones that I’ve coached, have a real great mind for the game, as well. They compete at the highest level, but with a deep level of understanding of how to win.”
Bam Adebayo Is Thriving From Butler’s Aggressive Attitude
On April 24, despite having a 24-point lead over the Chicago Bulls during the first half of the game, the Heat nearly blew it all in clutch time. Fueling Miami to eke out a 106-101 win over the Bulls, aggression from the team’s two biggest stars.
During the postgame conference, Bam Adebayo revealed that he and Butler “cursed each other out in the huddle.” When Adebayo was asked to further detail their heated interaction, Butler interrupted from off-camera yelling, “That’s between me and Bam. Stop being nosy. Next question!”
Adebayo and Butler’s playfulness was on full display during the postgame conference, and it’s safe to assume the two were cursing each other out in a positive way, to hype the team up and finish strong.
Following the team’s win against the Spurs on April 28, Adebayo said he understands Butler’s aggression. “We’re trying to make a push in these standings, nine left, it’s go time,” Adebayo said. “There’s no looking back. We know what’s ahead of us.” And the respect is mutual.
“We want him to stay aggressive,” Butler said. “The great part is he’s a pass-first player. So as soon as he gets in there, he’s probably looking to pass before he is looking to dunk on somebody. But we want him, we need him to be that way.”