Fights and altercations in the NBA are not uncommon, but when they happen between teammates and even coaches, it can quickly turn ugly. The Miami Heat are having a great season, but a couple of bad losses resulted in frustrations boiling over as some of the most rigid heads in the locker room butted heads, with tempers flaring on the bench between Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem, and head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Undermanned Warriors steal one in Miami
The stumbling Warriors came into Miami last night without too much hope to turn things around, considering they were without their veteran big 3 of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green - especially going up against the #1 in the East, Miami Heat. Sure, Miami missed their sixth man Tyler Herro, but outside of that, they had their whole deep roster.
But the Warriors showed resilience and play a great game led by Jordan Poole (30p,9a) alongside a team contribution of Jonathan Kuminga, Andrew Wiggins, and Damion Lee, who all scored 22 points. On the other side, Lowry (26p,9a) and Bam (25p,9r) were the only ones playing to their level, as this loss only complicates the already tight battle for better standings in the East.
Drama in the Heat locker room?
The main story of the game was not the Warriors pulling off the impressive victory, but the Heat getting heated during the game, with Jimmy Butler going after Erik Spoelstra, who didn't back down and Udonis Haslem stepping in to defend his coach.
"What? Do you want me to f**king fight you?" Spoelstra said to Butler. The veteran heart of the team and Heat legend, Udonis Haslem, stepped in to defend his long-time coach, starting to threaten Butler, while Spoelstra destroyed his clipboard and went to confront Jimmy again, showing no fear of the Heat star.
After the game, coach Spo spoke to the media and explained what went down and why.
"It was pretty clear. We have a very competitive, gnarly group and we were getting our asses kicked. Two straight games, we're not playing to the level we want to play and I would say virtually every single person in that huddle was pretty animated about our disappointment in how we were playing."
Erik Spolestra, NBA On ESPN
Losing to the Warriors without their Big 3, just a game after dropping one to Philly without Embiid and Harden obviously didn't sit well with this competitive Heat team, and things escalated. After all, this is one savvy, veteran, and tough team full of dogs. With guys like Jimmy Butler, P.J. Tucker, Kyle Lowry, and Udonis Haslem, who doesn't even play but serves as the voice that keeps everyone accountable, it's only natural that things get heated.
Also, coach Spo is a renowned name that has been in Miami for a while, as he proved once again he is not a pushover. He challenges some of the toughest guys in the league, and you can see players respect him. If he didn't fear going at Dwyane Wade 10 years ago, not backing down from Jimmy is no problem.
It might look bad at the moment for Heat fans, but they don't have to worry. They are still the #1 team in the East with possibly the deepest rotation in the league. This incident only shows they care, and it could serve them well before the playoff run. Because in the postseason, they will shift that energy to their opponents, as no team will have a fun time going up against them.