After the Miami Heat dropped to 3-4 following a 107-105 loss to the Boston Celtics, Jimmy Butler verbalized his frustration to the media, calling everyone out – himself included – for not playing hard enough this early into the season.
Jimmy Butler says there’s no excuses to not playing hard, the culture we say that we have. We aren’t doing that. Nobody is. Not me, not Bam, nobody. We better figure it out real soon. pic.twitter.com/Vx5RO6lmdh— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) January 7, 2021
The Heat have once again followed a victory with a defeat and are yet to win two games in a row. They currently sit with the 11th best record in the Eastern Conference and are in for a tough rest of January. Here are nine teams the Heat will face by the end of the month, beginning with a four-game road trip:
- @ Washington Wizards
- @ Boston Celtics
- @ Philadelphia 76ers (2x)
- vs. Detroit Pistons (2x)
- @ Toronto Raptors (2x)
- @ Brooklyn Nets (2x)
- vs. Denver Nuggets
- vs. Los Angeles Clippers
- vs. Sacramento Kings
Hence Jimmy Butler’s eagerness for the Heat to figure it out soon. It’s the prerequisite for Miami to come out of the forthcoming stretch with a positive winning record. Otherwise, they may find themselves even in the worse spot they’re in today, with less time to turn it around.
The Heat need to re-establish their identity ASAP. Playing tough, team-oriented, gritty basketball is what turned them into the 2020 NBA finalists, and so far, they’re doing none of that. Miami currently ranks #25 in ORtg and #11 in DRtg. They are scoring almost seven points less while allowing two points more compared to the last season.
Numbers-wise, every Heat crucial performer – Bam Adebayo excluded – is having an off-year. Jimmy Butler is the one with the biggest drop, averaging an inefficient 13.8 PPG in 27.6 minutes of action. He is and should be the catalyst for change, and the fact he’s keeping himself accountable is a good example for others to do the same.
It’ll take each Miami individual to up their game for it to reflect on the collective. It’s the way to re-embody the Heat culture and try to live up to the standard set in the 19/20 NBA season. Jimmy Butler will play a huge part in that, just as he did in Miami’s run in the bubble. He’s there to bring the best out of the Heat young core.
Now, I don’t know if “the best” is reaching the Finals for a second straight year. But it sure isn’t what they’re showing seven games into the 20/21 regular season — that I can tell you.