Jimmy Butler has called the Miami Heat “soft” and explained that the reigning champions of the Eastern Conference need a wake-up call and that the All-Star-Center Bam Adebayo should play “Bully Ball” again.
Miami suffered their third straight defeat with a 119-111 loss to Minnesota, which came into play on Friday with the worst record in the NBA. It was the Heat’s 10th loss in their last 16 games, bringing their record down to 28-28, with 16 games left to avoid the box office round that will begin the postseason.
“It’s not frustrating because we do it so often,” said Butler. “It’s almost as expected, poorly put. We just think we’re such a good team and then reality hits us, we’re humble. And I’m glad because that’s what this game is for you. At home , away, no matter what opponent you play against, you just stroll into the game and think you’re nice, you’re good, and that’s exactly what happens.
“I’m glad it happened to us,” said Butler of the loss to the Timberwolves. “And if we don’t fix it, I hope it keeps happening to us.”
Butler refused to speak to reporters after playing several games over the past few years, but he didn’t hold back on Friday.
“I can’t tell you which way we’re going,” said Butler. “I don’t know which team will show up on a particular evening.”
The win allowed the Timberwolves to get past Houston for the first time since Jan. 5 and escape from the league’s basement. Minnesota beat Miami 45-33 and beat Heat 23-5 on the second chance.
“We’re just soft. That’s it,” said Butler. “Don’t get into the body, afraid of contact. Overall soft.”
Miami welcomes Brooklyn on Sunday. The Heat started in 7th place in the East over the weekend, 1½ games behind sixth in New York.
It’s been a roller coaster season for Miami. Key players, including Butler, missed the time early due to virus issues that resulted in a 7-14 start. The heat then went 15-4, similar to the team that went to last season’s NBA final.
And now comes this slide. Miami has maintained hopes of being a playoff contender again, especially after closing a trade for former All-Star Victor Oladipo last month. But he has only played four games with Miami and is now out with a recurrence of knee problems. The team didn’t state the latest issue or whether Oladipo will play again this season.
Miami is 4-20 if 109 points or more are allowed, 24-8 if teams hold 108 or fewer points.
“We have to stop and that is the bottom line,” said Adebayo. “Offense will take care of itself.”
Butler also said he wanted more from Adebayo, the 2020 All-Star who has signed a five-year extension for $ 163 million starting next season.
“I want Bam to attack the rim because no one can stay in front of him,” said Butler. “Nobody can stay in front of him. Go. You get fouled or you will dive in on someone. That’s cool. I love it when he shoots mid-range jump shots too, but he lets people off the hook. Play bullying.” Ball. I like Bully Ball. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.