The Miami Heat’s amazing season has definitely had its share of highs and lows.
One of the team’s low moments came during a regular season contest against the Golden State Warriors when head coach Erik Spoelstra and team leader Udonis Haslem got into a furious altercation with All-Star Jimmy Butler.
“But even some of Spoelstra’s closest friends had never seen him like that, not just the emotional outburst in the huddle but the dark brooding he did for the rest of that quarter, almost stopping coaching as he managed the fury,” Windhorst wrote of the ugly squabble.
“For Butler, three seasons’ worth of give-and-take with Spoelstra finally led to finding the line. It wasn’t just that moment with Butler verbally shoving back at his coach; it was a long buildup.
“‘Spo was exasperated,’ one team source said.
“Even Butler, who sometimes seems to actually enjoy creating conflict on his team, wondered whether this was a breaking point, sources said. Two days later, after Spoelstra missed a game because of an unrelated personal matter, he returned, reset and ready.”
Butler, 32, joined the Heat in the summer of 2019 following a brief stint with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Over the course of his three seasons in Miami, the veteran has bloviated about his perfect fit with the Heat. Furthermore, he’s had the best success of his career with the Heat.
The six-time All-Star led the squad to the 2020 NBA Finals in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla. The team, which faced the mighty Los Angeles Lakers, was only two wins away from capturing a title.
On Tuesday, Butler delivered a powerful performance against the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
He put up a monster 41 points, nine boards, five assists, four steals and three blocks in a 118-107 win. Heat legend Dwyane Wade was very proud of Butler’s dominant night.
Certainly, Butler’s exciting performances outdo the negative aspects of his presence on the Heat. The Marquette University product has a notorious tag as a bad teammate around the league, though opposing players have defended him, and his current Heat teammates have roared back against the label.
Nonetheless, Butler is proving his value in an unparalleled way as the Heat are three wins away from advancing to a second NBA Finals with him as their alpha.