The Miami Heat are reeling, and Jimmy Butler’s patience is running out. After his team’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, the six-time All-Star looked exasperated and offered his squad an important reality check.
"𝙄'𝙢 𝙩𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙛 𝙡𝙤𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙜…I don't think anybody in here wants to lose, but we've gotta figure this out very, very quickly."
— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) February 26, 2023
Miami’s loss to Charlotte marked its fourth straight defeat, and the streak has the team falling further in the Eastern Conference standings. Currently, it has a 32-29 record, good for No. 7 in the conference and 2.5 games behind the No. 6 seed New York Knicks.
If the Heat want an outright berth in the playoffs and to avoid having to go through to the play-in tournament, they have to at least aim for the sixth seed in the East.
But with the way they have played in their past four contests, they don’t appear like playoff contenders.
The first loss in the streak came against the Denver Nuggets at home. It was an unfortunate match for the Heat as their opponent was missing Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon. They allowed Nikola Jokic to wreak havoc on the floor, with the MVP favorite nearly posting a triple-double with 27 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
In the next game, Miami failed to bounce back against a new-look Brooklyn Nets team that had recently traded franchise cornerstones Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Butler and company allowed another opponent to light them up. Mikal Bridges registered a career-high 45 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, to lift the Nets to a 116-105 victory at home.
After that match, the Heat had an opportunity to recharge over All-Star Weekend. However, their first game following the midseason break saw them get embarrassed by the Milwaukee Bucks despite Giannis Antetokounmpo exiting just six minutes into the opening period. Miami lost on the road by 29 points to spoil Kevin Love’s debut.
The Hornets bout provided the Heat with a good chance of getting back in the win column. But it was Charlotte who had the momentum going into the match, as it had won its prior three contests and was playing in front of its home crowd.
It remains to be seen if Miami can snap its losing streak in its next game, although that will be a tall task because it will visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. Hopefully, Butler can help the squad snap out of its funk.