Knicks Starter Issues Warning on Heat ‘Maniac’ Jimmy Butler

Josh Hart

Getty Josh Hart defends Jimmy Butler during the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

Ahead of their next matchup, New York Knicks forward Josh Hart had some strong words when asked about Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler.

He told reporters on April 2 that “Jimmy kind of does side quests during the year until about April. Then he starts locking in. I’m sure people are going to see that maniac competitive side now that he’s done with the side quests and he’s on to the main quest.”

The question that prompted Hart’s animated response has yet to be reported.

But the Knicks starter does have recent, first-hand experience with Butler’s competitive psyche in the playoffs.

Miami beat New York four games to two in the second round of the 2023 postseason.

Butler Shined Against Knicks in 2023 Playoffs

Despite missing Game Two with an ankle injury, Butler finished the series averaging 24.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, six assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks. And to Hart’s credit, each of those numbers are higher than the All-Star’s regular season averages for 2022-2023.

New York’s two victories came in Game Two which Butler missed, and Game Four. Both on their home floor.

Butler would go on to lead the Heat to the NBA Finals, where they suffered a “gentleman’s sweep,” four games to one via the Denver Nuggets.

But this comment from Josh Hart is just the latest wrinkle in his complex history with Miami.

According to Stathead, Josh Hart has won eight of 13 regular season matchups against the Heat. Those eight victories have come in four different uniforms over seven career seasons.

And that includes one game-winning three (in a season he was shooting just 30% from deep) as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.

But, and it’s unfortunate for Josh’s winning record, they’ve also met in the playoffs.

His record against Miami in the postseason is that of last year’s postseason series with the Knicks; two wins and four losses.

Everyone knows that you can’t “win them all” in any sport. But in last year’s playoffs, Hart’s losses to the Heat transcended the hardwood.

Hart and Butler’s Recent History

There’s no indication that the Knicks forward was “throwing shade” at Butler, but the two do have a recent history.

Miami’s star forward missed that aforementioned Game Two against New York, because of a controversial injury.

Butler rolled his ankle while being fouled by Hart in the fourth quarter.

The Heat still managed to win Game One, and Butler only missed one additional game, but Hart’s reputation was questioned (and still is) on Twitter. One simple “Hart dirty player” search query will show you that.

Of course, it didn’t help his case, that when asked about the injury postgame, he was candid about the play.

“Jimmy turned his ankle. I don’t know what you guys want me to say about that,” Hart told the New York Post. “Playing defense, obviously there was a collision. Unfortunately, he turned his ankle. You guys seen the play.”

Trust that this incident is being considered along with Hart’s comments prior to the next Miami and New York game.

The shorthanded Knicks roll into the matchup fresh off of back-to-back losses, and still without Julius Randle and OG Anunoby.

The Miami Heat, on the other hand, are rolling, coming off back-to-back wins.

And it’s going to take Josh Hart, among others, stepping up if the New York Knicks are to avoid three straight losses.