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Miami Heat are getting the best version of Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat have been a perfect match.

You can tell that Jimmy Butler likes the Miami Heat and the organization. You can see by the way he interacts with the media in his press conferences, and just his overall demeanor in practice.  He is just happy to be here. Sometimes athletes’ put on a happy face when they reach their new destination. Underneath the million-dollar smile, they aren’t really happy. That’s not the case with Jimmy Butler.

It’s showing in his statistics as well. On the year, he is averaging 18.4 points per game 7.2 assists, and 5.2 rebounds. The 7.2 assists are the most he has had in his career to this point. The 18.4 points per game are the most has had in a season since 2018-19, during his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has always had the ability to put up numbers and he has always been a solid player whereever he has gone. However, in Miami the ballgame has completely changed for Butler. Unlike in the past, it has changed for the better

For someone who likes winning, going to a team with rookies and unproven players could be a frustrating endeavor. Instead of being frustrated, Butler is leading. The way he carries himself is a complete turnaround from some of his other NBA stops. He rubbed people the wrong way in Chicago, Minnesota, and Philadelphia. Part of it was due to his fierce, competitive nature. On a team that is still looking for a source of direction, Butler is proving to be the leader and he is embracing it.

In talking to the media on Tuesday, Butler acknowledged that he is happy in South Beach. The biggest reason? He’s allowed to be himself.

Butler as himself has been great for Miami Heat

Butler being himself has paid off for Miami so far. He has recorded three games of at least 10 assists, and three games of at least 20 points. He has also logged a fair amount of minutes. In seven games this season, he has logged at least 30 minutes.

Butler is working to his strengths while getting others involved. That’s huge as the team looks to build around guys like Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. It has undoubtedly helped everybody get touches on the court and we have seen players such as Bam Adebayo really thrive in this offense. Furthermore, he has taken on a leadership role. With the Miami Heat sporting a 9-3 record, it’s safe to say that Butler”s efforts have paid off.

Between moving the basketball, scoring, and getting others involved, Jimmy Butler is thriving. As the Miami Heat look to make headway in a crowded Eastern Conference, they will need  him to keep up this level of play. They need him to continue being the best version of himself.

 

Bam, Heat hold off Pistons in matchup of undermanned

At least through three quarters, the Miami Heat did what you should do to weary, groggy teams.

And the Detroit Pistons, in the state they arrived Tuesday, were that. Without Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, their star and resurgent sixth man. Groggy after a flight that arrived at 5:30am.

While the 117-108 victory, which was supremely sloppy down the stretch, may not seem like much, this was the type of game the Heat has found a way to lose the past couple of seasons, especially when they were shorthanded themselves. On this night, however, without Tyler Herro, Derrick Jones Jr. and James Johnson — and playing three G-League players regularly — they dominated Detroit at the start and that was enough to survive. While the Pistons pulled closer late, even with Andre Drummond fouling out, it never felt as if the Heat lost control, especially as Jimmy Butler (20 points) finally started looking to score.

The pacesetters? The veterans. Goran Dragic entered the NBA in the top 5 in bench scoring, and continued his comfortable rhythm with his eighth double-digit performance (18 points) in 10 outings. Butler, as he’s done all but three times this season, worked his way into the game offensively, setting tempo and finding shooters, with 13 of Miami’s 34 assists. And Miami’s young vet, Bam Adebayo, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds, flashed his shooting touch with a 17-foot jumper and a nifty hook, before fouling out.

That, plus at least three three-pointers apiece from Duncan Robinson and the recently-struggling Kendrick Nunn and Kelly Olynyk, was sufficient. All 10 Heat players scored, including two-way guard Daryl Macon (flown in as a reinforcement) and Mr. 305 Udonis Haslem, who got the loudest ovation when he entered, chewing on his mouthpiece.

Cleveland is next, part of a stretch that should see the Heat soar to 11-3, provided they close better than they did Tuesday night.

(Cover photo by Alejandro Villegas)

Tweets of the night:

 

National Media Pushes Dumb Jimmy Butler Narrative

The national narrative about Jimmy Butler strikes again. After Miami defeated Phoenix last behind Jimmy Butler’s 34 points, he stepped into the winners’ circle with Jason Jackson.  

 

Jokingly he sent teammates Bam Adebayo and Meyers Leonard back to the locker room before getting he interviewed. When asked about the video bombs, Butler responded; “It’s not about them, It’s about me right now”.  

Of course, the national media had a field day with this as many took Butler’s comments out of context and responded with tweets calling him a “bad teammate.”  Even though Butler was clearly laughing throughout the video, people ripped him apart.  

These preset narratives of Butler being a bad teammate are absolutely ridiculous. Butler has preached being unselfish this year even saying last night that he spoke with coaches who wanted him to be more aggressive. He has embraced being a leader and took all the young players under his wing, especially rookie Tyler Herro whom he continues to have only great things to say about. 

 

 

The majority of the hate for Butler seems to comes from the manner in which he forced his way out of Minnesota. Critics deemed him a selfish teammate who only cared about his own personal benefit. This summer again didn’t help his image when he made his way down to South Beach. Philly fans tore Butler apart when he chose Miami over the 76ers who were a Kawhi Leonard bounce away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

Many view this as Butler’s retirement tour. 

The national media will continue to tear Jimmy apart for even looking at the camera wrong but down here in South Florida we love how he has embraced the Culture and look forward to the future with him. 

As do his teammates…

Breaking it Down: Nekias Duncan on Heat-Hawks II

How is this happening?

How are the Miami Heat off to a 4-1 start with Jimmy Butler missing three games and playing passively on offense for most of the other two?

How are Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro doing this…. as rookies?

How is someone on a two-way contract, such as Chris Silva, contributing so much?

After the Heat’s latest win, this one 106-97 against the Hawks in Atlanta, Nekias Duncan (@NekiasNBA) does what he does: a comprehensive video breakdown on Twitter.

Duncan contributes to Five Reasons Sports Network from time to time, so look for more of his work here.

Still, this thread is worth your time, just like this Heat team:

 

 

 

Miami Heat secure victory behind versatile Butler, hot Nunn

 The Miami Heat were able to secure a win behind a strong effort from Jimmy Butler.

The Miami Heat recorded a huge victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night. With Miami winning by a 106-97 margin, there were many good things to take away from the game. However, one thing stood out to me in particular: Jimmy Butler had 11 assists.

Now, I am not diminishing the efforts of Kendrick Nunn at all. His 28 points paced the Heat’s offensive attack. However, it was Butler’s contributions on Thursday evening that spearheaded the Miami Heat towards a victory. His willingness to share the basketball showed up in the box score and on the court. Five different Miami Heat players scored in double figures.  Butler himself had 21 points. In addition, he had six steals and three blocks.

This game reminded me of his days in Chicago. In Philadelphia, there were a lot of mouths to feed in terms of sharing the basketball. In Chicago, he was more of the superstar that the Bulls leaned on. I think he will serve a similar role here in Miami, but the production from the youngsters has made me believe that he will not do it all by himself.

Miami Heat received all-around effort from Butler

When I think of Jimmy Butler, I think of a player who bullies his way to the basket, and can drive to the hoop with ease. I forget sometimes how good he is defensively. He reminded me Thursday just how impactful he can be on that end. Butler is a stout defender that is not afraid to get up in the face of his man and make life uncomfortable. He plays the game with tremendous passion, and it shows.

The fact that Butler was able to combine his scoring prowess with his defensive skill set on Thursday was great to see. It’s hard to play defense in today’s NBA. It seems like everything is called a foul nowadays. It’s easy to accumulate a ton of points, it’s harder to accumulate steals and blocks. Butler did a nice job of that and as a result, he made a huge impact on the game.

He is going to be fun to watch in a Miami Heat uniform. Thursday night, he proved that. If he can play like this every single night, this team is going to make a very deep playoff run.

 

Old Teammates Won’t Let Jimmy Butler Move On

Jimmy Butler seems to be living his best life of late.

He got paid this offseason, and traded to the city where he wanted to play.

He is a new father — of a baby girl.

And he with a team and teammates he clearly likes.

But others in the NBA won’t let the man be.

Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns, two of the game’s elite bigs — and each problematic for his own reasons — got in a skirmish Wednesday in the game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

These days, what isn’t settled in person spills over into social media.

So it did.

And Embiid, well, he can’t leave anything alone, except the Eastern Conference Finals. He and Butler were on good terms in Philadelphia last season as teammates — Butler roundly praised Embiid a month ago during Heat training camp.

Butler was never as glowing about Towns, with the fraying of that relationship playing into his desire to leave the Timberwolves — that set up his brief partnership with Embiid in Philadelphia. Embiid apparently knows the history. Quite well.

The “3rd stringers” is a reference to Butler, during his self-imposed sabbatical in Minnesota, supposedly teaming up with 3rd stringers in practice and routing the Wolves’ starters, including Towns, in practice. You’ll remember Woj giving Jimmy something akin to Paul Bunyan status for this.

So, with two of his ex’s squabbling, will Butler leave this alone?

The answer, naturally, is no.

Butler chimed in on Embiid’s Instagram post.

So this won’t be the last of it.

Butler will be asked, probably prior to Thursday’s Miami Heat game in Atlanta. And you can be sure, he’ll answer. It would be fun if he just buried both of them.

 

Heat Win Behind Stellar Night from Bucket Bros

The Miami Heat rolled into Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks with a 2-1 record. Coming off a rollercoaster weekend that had fans salivating at the thought of adding a top 15 player to a roster that had shown loads of grit and resolve, but lacked the reliability of a tried and true closer.

Enter Jimmy Butler. Back with the team after the birth of his daughter, Rylee (pronounced Riley . . . how’s that for culture?) Jimmy entered a locker room full of young players, confident in their roles and a couple of vets adjusting to theirs.

Butler’s impact was felt almost immediately as he showcased his offensive arsenal early. A measured drive to the rim, a catch and shoot 3, an and-one off balance runner in the lane . . . Butler was in his bag early scoring 12 points in the first quarter.

The second quarter, however, belonged to Tyler Herro. Apparently Herro was tired of all the Kendrick Nunn love and decided to enter into the Rookie of the Year conversation himself. Herro scored 19 in the 2nd, rediscovering the shooting stroke that dazzled fans in the preseason.

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young came into the game torching opposing defenses, but his night was short-lived after he was stripped in the lane by Justise Winslow and stepped down awkwardly with his right foot, twisting his ankle.

But even before the Hawks lost their superstar point guard, the Heat’s defense looked stout, outside of consistently losing track of big man John Collins. After Young’s exit, though, the Hawks offense turned anemic without a consistent shot creator on the floor all night. The Heat took full advantage, keeping the Hawks in the low 40’s in FG percentage.

The defensive triumvirate of Butler, Winslow and Bam Adebayo will be something to watch closely all year. With Coach Erik Spoelstra leaving either Butler or Winslow on the floor until late in the game to guard the perimeter. The Hawks promptly scored with ease and Butler was back in the game the next play. With Winslow leading the team in minutes on the young season, he undoubtedly welcomed the opportunity to share the defensive load.

Goran Dragic chipped in another great performance off the bench with 21 pts.  The pressure that Dragic puts on opposing second units is impressive. He has stated that Sixth Man of the Year is his personal goal and so far it seems well within reach.

After carrying an 18 point lead into the 4th quarter, things got tight late behind a full court press from the Hawks and half court traps.  The Heat were able to hang on (112-97) with the night ultimately belonging to the debut of Butler with 21 pts and a record setting effort from Herro.

Herro scored the most ever points off the bench by a Heat rookie with 29, the record was previously held by Michael Beasley with 28.

Adebayo finished with 17 pts and 10 rebs, securing his third double-double in 4 games. Nunn finished with 17 pts as well, continuing his hot scoring streak.

The Heat play next on Thursday night against these same Hawks with Young’s return to the lineup uncertain.

 

The Miami Heat ended the Five Reasons curse!

Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat may win another championship together someday.

But they will never accomplish anything quite like this.

Since Five Reasons Sports Network was born in 2018, we had 12 watch parties prior to Saturday evening. One didn’t count for our record — it was FC Barcelona against Real Madrid, and we don’t really have a horse in that fight. But the other 11 were Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins or Miami Hurricanes road games.

And we lost them all.

Every single one.

And some weren’t close. That included a Heat at Milwaukee Bucks game last season, when we gathered at Duffy’s in North Miami Beach.

So we expected the same Saturday at GQ’s Drafthouse a little further north, in Lauderhill in Broward County.

Top team in the East as the opponent.

Road game.

No Jimmy Butler — and a thin bench due to suspensions.

Then, a 21-point deficit.

So did we all just drink too much?

Or did our halftime giveaways — shirts and autographed cards — turn the tide?

Did this really happen?

Did the Heat… win? In overtime, no less?

Yeah, it happened.

It happened even with the Heat shooting free throws at an Andre Drummond clip in the last few minutes.

It happened even after Derrick Jones Jr. got hurt (groin) and Kendrick Nunn (great again) fouled out.

It happened even with me posting premature tweets about them winning.

It happened even with us all dressed horribly.

It happened, because Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow were relentless on defense, and Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk were major contributors on offense.

And now can it happen again?

We have another watch party, Nov. 26 at Duffy’s in North Miami Beach for the game against the Rockets.

Yes, Harden and Westbrook. On the road.

But we’re on a winning streak.

And the Heat are different this season.

We just promise we won’t do this:

 

New father Jimmy Butler likely out for Bucks

Jimmy Butler’s official Miami Heat debut is still on hold.

Butler, who missed the season opener for undisclosed personal reasons — though the team hinted it was the birth of a child — was still in the hospital with the child and mother Friday and Erik Spoelstra said he probably won’t make the Heat’s road trip that starts in Milwaukee on Saturday.

(Butler could join the team in Minnesota to face his former team Sunday.)

Here’s Spoelstra on the happy news:

Also not with the Heat on Friday: Dion Waiters. He won’t make either part of this trip and will rejoin the team Tuesday at home. James Johnson (conditioning) is not traveling either.

So it appears that the Heat will start the same lineup they did in the season opener.

That’s Bam Adebayo, Meyers Leonard, Justise Winslow and rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro.

Nunn had 24 in his debut, and he sounded Friday as if he expected it, saying it went about how he visualized.

Here’s the clip:

Make sure to join us at GQ’s Crafthouse in Lauderhill starting at 5pm, for a watch party.

Free food, and t-shirt giveaways.

We’re 0-11.

Jimmy being out doesn’t help that. But at least we’ll be drinking.

Jimmy Butler out for Season Opener

The Miami Heat announced late Wednesday afternoon that Jimmy Butler would be out for the season opener against Memphis.

 

The exact reason for the absence has not been specified, NBA writer Tim Reynolds had this from head coach Erik Spoelstra.

 

This obviously throws a monkey wrench into not only the starting lineup, but the entire rotation along with defensive assignments on the perimeter.

Justise Winslow and Tyler Herro among others will be asked to carry more of the offense, it will be interesting to see who Spoelstra opens and closes with tonight.

Tip off from the American Airlines arena is 7:30pm EST

Check back for more updates as we learn more.

Follow @5ReasonsSports for the latest Miami Heat news.