The Miami Heat unraveled badly against an injury-riddled Golden State Warriors team. They let the Warriors, who were without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, light up the third quarter and take a 19-point lead. Miami regained the lead but lost it in the fourth quarter and never got it back.
The main takeaway from the game, though, was the flare-up between Jimmy Butler and Erik Spoelstra. After seemingly saying he wanted to fight Spoelstra, Butler was confronted by Udonis Haslem, who laid it out clearly that he would fight Butler.
"I'll beat your ass. I'll beat your ass."
Udonis Haslem to Jimmy Butler on the Heat bench 😳pic.twitter.com/MPzJGwlKXf
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 24, 2022
After the game, Spoelstra said that the heat of the moment caused them to get upset, especially because things had not been going their way on the court. Bam Adebayo said that getting intense is just part of being on the Heat. He said that the team is a brotherhood at the end of the day and that they’ll get over the incident.
Bam Adebayo on Jimmy Butler and Udonis Haslem's verbal confrontation:
“This is us in practice…In practice, we get like that to that point where like it looks like we want to fight each other when we get that mad, but it's just the competitive nature that we have on this team.”
— Mark Haynes (@markhaynesnba) March 24, 2022
Intensity has certainly been a cornerstone of the Heat’s identity, especially since Jimmy Butler joined the team. even though incidents like these aren’t pretty, it doesn’t signify any serious fractures in the team. P.J. Tucker pointed out on Instagram that this is the first serious bit of attention being given to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The team’s chemistry is still intact.
With a 47-26 record, Miami is still in the driver’s seat for where they end up in the standings. Getting the kinks out before the playoffs should be helpful, as blowing opportunities against inferior opponents is not something they can afford to do.