Miami was torched by Milwaukee 132-98 on Monday night, and while the entire team struggled on both offense and defense, First Take host Stephen A. Smith placed the blame squarely on five-time All-Star Jimmy Butler, who went 4-22 in Game 1 and a paltry 4-10 in Game 2.
“Damn it Jimmy Butler, they ain’t you!” Smith yelled. “You Jimmy freakin’ Butler! Take over! Stop with the passiveness! It is yours! It’s yours! You Mr. South Beach Now! They ain’t gonna call it Wade County because Wade County is reserved for a very, very special man, and that happens to be the part-owner of the Utah Jazz, which is another story for another day.”
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“But the bottom line is, it’s your town!” Smith continued. “Take over! Period! Number-one option! No passiveness!”
Smith’s absolute outrage seems to stem from the fact that he knows the 31-year-old forward is capable of greatness. “Jimmy Butler has to show up and be Jimmy Butler,” Smith said. “Enough of this passive stuff. Enough of this fitting in.”
While there’s much discussion on Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo needing to be more aggressive, Smith thinks the Heat can excel if Playoff Jimmy shows up.
“Here’s what stars do, stars make for what the rest of the team is lacking, to some degree. They make up for it.”
Coach Spo & Butler Are Ready to Turn Things Around in Game 3
Following the Heat’s loss on May 24, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra and Butler were aware the Heat were outplayed at every facet of the game by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Spoelstra said of the Heat’s rebounding struggles, “Yeah, that’s gotta change. Period. There’s a lot of different layers to it but the first part of it is a physical aspect when the ball goes up. Ball in the air, ball on the floor. We have to be much better.”
“We didn’t make anything difficult on them,” Butler said. “We didn’t take anything away and the game got out of hand pretty early. But we know what we have to do better. I think the bright spot is I don’t think you could play any worse.”
Game 3 brings the playoff series home to Miami on Wednesday night, and Butler said the team is ready to turn this series around.
“I think we know what we have to do,” Butler said. “I think sometimes we get a little lost in getting everybody involved. And that’s not a bad thing. I think that’s what made myself and him a really good player in this league. But I think at times you’ve got to go, myself especially. We get it. We understand.”
“We rely a lot on our teammates, to get them the rock, as well,” Butler continued. “I don’t think we can get away from that. But maybe we’ve got to impose our will a little bit more, be a little bit more aggressive… I’m excited because we get the opportunity to find what myself and my teammates are made of. We get an opportunity to play again and get it to 2-1.”