The hilarious “Odd Couple” routine between Miami Heat teammates Jimmy Butler and Max Strus reached new heights following a 109-98 loss to Philadelphia. It was only Butler’s second game back from an ankle injury, but that didn’t stop him from laying it on Strus.
Butler told reporters that Strus “stinks” and his intention is to always avoid passing the ball to the shooting guard even if he’s wide open. Safe to assume it was a joke amongst friends, although Butler wasn’t necessarily rolling over with laughter. It should be noted that Strus suffered through a miserable shooting night prior to Butler’s comments.
He went 3-of-12 from the field and 2-of-9 from three-point land. He entered the starting five that night (Duncan Robinson went to the bench) and finished with 11 points in 28 minutes. Then, hilarity (or reality?) set in.
“Don’t ask me about Max. Don’t do it. Because I’m going to tell you the truth,” Butler told reporters. “He just stinks so people leave him open. Spo [Erik Spolestra] is like ‘throw it to Max he’s wide open’ so I gotta throw it to him. I literally try to look him off and then it’s like, OK you gotta throw it to him when he’s wide open, so you know he got lucky and made a couple of shots tonight. I’m not impressed. I’m not.”
Strus was asked to explain his relationship with Butler and a huge smile came over his face. The undrafted three-point specialist views the five-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist as a role model.
“Me and Jimmy got a special connection that we’ve built since last year. He’s my guy,” Strus said. “He looks for me and wants me to be good so I can’t ask for anything more You know, he’s been a great role model and vet that I look up to.
“And he’s helped me along the way so I’m going to keep playing off of him and we’re going to keep playing through him. Obviously, he’s a top player in the league, so he’s one of the best and we’re going to keep going through him.”
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Butler Praises Sixers Star Joel Embiid
Butler and Joel Embiid were Sixers teammates for half a season — 55 games to be exact — but they developed a lasting friendship. And (maybe?) bonded over their severe disdain for Ben Simmons. The two players were excited to see each other in Philly and Butler headed right over to the Sixers’ bench to dap up the big man. Embiid scored 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in that one to continue his MVP quest.
“Score, rebound, force extra help,” Butler said of what Embiid did well. “Be the dominant player that he’s been for a very long time. He did that.”
Former Heat Coach Jumps on Bandwagon
Stan Van Gundy spent a decade in South Beach as an assistant and then head coach for the Heat. He may have been forced out at the end by Pat Riley, although Van Gundy has denied it happened that way. Either way, there doesn’t appear to be any animosity there. Van Gundy is now a retired basketball analyst for TNT where he offers straightforward takes.
His latest? Don’t sleep on the Miami Heat. He thinks they are legitimate championship contenders.