This Miami Heat team has suffered several disappointing losses, including two duds to a depleted Los Angeles Clippers team and home losses against the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards. And with the prospect of participating in a play-in game becoming more likely, Miami lost to the last-place Minnesota Timberwolves despite 30 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists from Jimmy Butler.
The Heat’s max player wasn’t happy about it. When asked about the second-chance points Miami has given up, Butler said his team is playing soft. He also added that he doesn’t know which team is going to show up on any given night.
Jimmy Butler on all the 2nd chance points: We're just being soft. That's it. Not getting into bodies. Scared of some contact. Soft overall. pic.twitter.com/tI5XHPHmzW— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) April 17, 2021
Butler expressing frustration. "I don't know what team is going to show up on any given night."... Blames defensive issues in part on "just being soft, scared of contact.".. He wants Bam to attack rim more: "He lets people off the hook. Play bully ball."— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) April 17, 2021
In his most pointed comments about Bam Adebayo, Butler admonished his teammate to “play bull ball.” Last night in Minnesota, Adebayo took just eight shot attempts. Earlier this week in Phoenix, the Heat’s 2017 first-round pick attempted only six shots. That’s a long way from the player who led Miami in scoring during the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals.
Jimmy Butler: I want Bam to attack the rim because no one can stay in front of him. Go! You’re going to get fouled or you’re going to dunk on somebody. I love him shooting mid-range jumpers too but he lets people off the hook. Play bully ball. I like bully ball. pic.twitter.com/N0kvEJTt3b— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) April 17, 2021
After an early-season loss to the Boston Celtics in January, Butler called out his team for “not playing hard” or living up to the Heat culture. With just a month left in the season, the Heat sit at a .500 record. Victor Oladipo is still out indefinitely.
It’s already been an underwhelming season — blame it on the quick turnaround, condensed schedule, Butler’s early COVID absence, Tyler Herro’s lack of improvement, Goran Dragic’s decline or a combination of it all. But going from the Finals to a play-in tournament would be a waste of Butler and Adebayo’s All-NBA talent.