After Miami Heat broke their three-game win streak with an embarrassing 118-103 loss to a short-handed Atlanta Hawks team on Friday night, there was heavy anticipation for Jimmy Butler, who recently berated himself and the team for their inconsistency issues, to once again speak to the media.
While the five-time All-Star notched 19 points, seven assists, two rebounds, and two steals against the Hawks on April 23, the Heat were outscored 23-14 during the fourth quarter. This was a devastating loss for Miami as it handed Atlanta the head-to-head season playoff tiebreaker.
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Last week, Butler sounded off following the Heat’s rough loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team with the worst record in the NBA. “We don’t deserve to win,” Butler said. “Whenever we take these teams lightly, we don’t do what we’re supposed to do on the defensive end, we just look bad, as a whole, as a group, as a unit. It’s not good basketball.”
For anyone worried that Butler may be ready to throw in the towel following yet another painful loss, “I’m telling you,” he said, “I’ll ride with these guys ‘til wheels fall off.”
“I think we just get caught up in our own agendas at times,” Butler said. “It’s not bad. It just happens. It’s the human condition. But that’s not who we are, not who we’re supposed to be, and it’s damn not sure not what is going to win us games.”
Butler Is Done Talking About Last Season’s Playoff Run
Butler rejected the idea that Miami went into Friday’s tilt with the same intensity of a playoff matchup. “I hope not close at all because we got out butts handed to us. So we don’t want to pretend that that one was like a playoff game because if it was, we would be going home really, really early.”
As for what the team needs to do to turn things around, “It’s on us to figure it out,” Butler said last week. “I can’t tell you which way we’re going to go. I don’t know what team is going to show up on any given night.” He blamed their lack of defense on players “just being soft. Not getting into bodies. Scared of contact. Soft overall.”
With only 12 regular season games left, Butler is keeping the focus on what he can personally do to help the team rack up the wins. “We’ve got to be in this thing together, which we are. We’ve had lapses where I could do more. I got to show that I could do more… At the end of the day, we’ve just got to do everything on both sides of the floor together.”
Butler is also done discussing last season’s Finals run. “I don’t like talking about last year,” he said. “We have a different team, different roles, different mindsets. Like you got to stop comparing who we are now to who we were, because that’s not good in any form of the game.”