Pelicans forward takes direct shot at Jimmy Butler and Heat in now-deleted post

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The Miami Heat have had a rocky month, and on Friday, they fell meekly to the surging New Orleans Pelicans, 111-88.

Back in February, the squad earned a road win over the Pelicans, and after that contest, Jimmy Butler said the Heat would win their next contest against them as well. In response, after Friday’s game, New Orleans forward Naji Marshall threw shade at Butler and his team.

Naji Marshall and Jimmy Butler

On Friday, the Heat put forth a very weak offensive performance, shooting just 36.0 percent from the field and 27.7 percent from 3-point range. Butler didn’t play up to his standards, as he shot just 5-of-12 overall and scored 17 points.

As usual, the Heat have been dealing with injury issues. Guard Tyler Herro, one of their primary offensive threats, has been out for about a month, while Duncan Robinson, one of their best outside shooters, didn’t play Friday because of a back ailment.

At the same time, the Pelicans didn’t have star forward Brandon Ingram, who is dealing with a knee injury.

With a 38-32 record, Miami is in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but it is just 1.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers, who are in sixth place. As a result, the team has a very real chance of avoiding the play-in tournament and the potential dangers that come with having to participate in it.

Last season, the Heat lost their first play-in game to the Atlanta Hawks, and they had to fight back from a fourth-quarter deficit in their next game to defeat the Chicago Bulls just to reach the playoffs.

Of course, once they got to the playoffs, they got hot like a summer’s day in South Florida and made it all the way to the NBA Finals.

One concern the team may have these days is the play of Terry Rozier, who the Heat acquired prior to the trade deadline in order to jump-start their offense. Rozier put up strong numbers before as a member of the Charlotte Hornets, but in 23 games with Miami, he’s shooting just 41.0 percent from the field, and his scoring average is down from what it used to be.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.