Jimmy Butler gets real on Miami Heat’s defensive woes since All-Star break: ‘We mess up a lot’

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Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler gave a concerning reason for why the Heat have taken a step back defensively since the All-Star break.

Miami usually is one of the better defensive teams in the league, but Butler revealed that the team is messing up its defensive coverages a lot lately.

With the Heat still fighting for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, this isn’t something that Heat fans want to hear. It sounds like the team isn’t connected even though there are just a few games left in the regular season.

Miami’s drop on defense has been gigantic. For the season, the Heat rank ninth in the league in defensive rating, but since the All-Star break they’ve been one of the worst units in the NBA.

Miami is 26th in the league in defensive rating since the break (118.5). Prior to the All-Star break, the Heat had a defensive rating of 111.2, which was good for fifth in the NBA.

Unfortunately, Miami hasn’t been able to sustain success on offense this season, so the step back on defense has hurt the team in the playoff race in the East.

Miami ranks just 25th in the league in offensive rating this season. The Heat are also a poor shooting team, ranking 25th in the league in effective field-goal percentage.

The Heat have five games remaining in the 2022-23 regular season, and they are currently 1.5 games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the No. 6 seed. Miami is also four games back of the New York Knicks for the No. 5 seed, but New York has the tiebreaker over Miami after winning three of the four regular season matchups between the teams.

That means the Heat would need to win all five of their remaining games while New York loses its five remaining games for Miami to have any chance at the No. 5 seed.

Butler’s matter-of-fact response is concerning, but the Heat have some time to right the ship. The fact that the star wing believes the issues are correctable is a good sign heading into the postseason.

If the Heat can’ turn things around over the next few games, they’ll likely find themselves in the play-in tournament field.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.