Tag Archive for: Jimmy Butler

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.

Herro and the Miami Heat Heels

Tyler Herro’s meteoric rise has captivated the Heat fans and the national media. His elite shotmaking ability, a valuable skillset put on display throughout summer league and NBA preseason has the rest of the league taking notice.

However, on October 17th vs the Orlando Magic it was his toughness and his WWE heel-like trash talk that went viral on social media platforms.

 

 

It’s a toughness his teammates love and embrace.

Jimmy Butler once again expressed how much he “loves that kid” and Justise Winslow was the first teammate to console Herro, who didn’t need much consoling, after the scuffle. Winslow did it with huge grin on his face, akin to an older brother watching his little brother win his first fight. And Winslow he wasn’t the only one. There was a a noticeable slight grins on the faces of nearly all of Herro’s teammates and coaches.

This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who’s familiar with the Miami Heat culture. They like tough and serious players. It’s why after drafting the silly Michael Beasley in 2008 they’ve drafted players who are nothing like Beasley such as Winslow, Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and now Herro and KZ Okpala.

Butler is known for his tough love, and verbally challenging his teammates. The difference with Herro and why they’ve bonded so much in a short time is because Herro “talks back.”

Herro’s trash talking is nothing new, this is the same Tyler Herro who was walking into high school gyms getting booed by opposing fans, silencing them with his play on the court, all the while smirking at opponents. Often, they tried to rattle him first, but he didn’t back down.

And it’s not just Herro. Butler in an interview with Heat broadcaster Eric Reid said “Justise Winslow doesn’t back down from anyone.” If you recall, Winslow who’s usually stoic was the opposite of that in the playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers. A technical foul for stepping on Joel Embiid’s mask, getting into scuffles, and screaming expletives at Ben Simmons thought the series.

There probably hasn’t been a team with this number of players who exhibit the Miami Heat DNA since the fights between the Heat and New York Knicks in the late 1990s. Udonis Halem has never been bashful, Dion Waiters can talk up a storm, Olynyk has been in skirmishes, and James Johnson almost used everything he learned from his MMA background on Serge Ibaka last year before cooler heads prevailed.

The “Big Three” of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade were hated but they wanted to be loved. The heel role didn’t suit them or their personalities. To the contrary, this heat team is tailor maid to be villains. Jimmy Butler said he wants this Heat team to be “hated”, with their physicality and their bluntness trash-talking, they’re well on their way.

NBA GMs love Spoelstra, like Miami Heat a little

The NBA’s general managers have spoken.

The annual polling of teams’ primary decision-makers was released today on NBA.com and, as usual, there are some surprises. What comes across most is how balanced the league is this season, compared to recent seasons.

We’ll get to thoughts on other teams and players in a minute but, first, how do they see the Heat.

Well, first, no one sees them winning the title this season. Neither, naturally, do we. We do — or at least I do — see them contending for the third spot in the conference behind Milwaukee and Philadelphia. No GM does, however. The Heat received no third place votes, while 18 percent of the GMs have them finishing fourth. The consensus? Seventh, also behind Boston, Brooklyn, Toronto and Indiana.

So what about players?

The Heat did not get votes for MVP, player to start a franchise with, or player who forces the most adjustments. Nor did the Heat get consideration for any particular position, in terms of being the best in the league (small forward, where Jimmy Butler, is kind of loaded).

Bam Adebayo did receive votes in the “breakout season” category (Sacramento’s DeAaron Fox was first). And while Tyler Herro did not register in the Rookie of the Year thinking (tough season to do that), he did receive 7% of the vote for “biggest steal” at his draft position, which was 13th. And Derrick Jones Jr. got 7% of the vote for most athletic player.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Anthony Davis switched teams this offseason, so all beat out Butler in the biggest offseason acquisition category. Butler did receive a vote for best perimeter defender (Leonard and George outpaced the field). The Heat were not among the eight teams receiving votes for “most improved team.”

But this is where it gets interesting.

Remember when ESPN blowhard Dan Dakich said Erik Spoelstra was just another coach? While sitting in the same booth as our buddy Jorge Sedano?

Well….

Jorge has final say on this:

Looks like the Miami Heat have a lineup

We sort of called this one.

No, it wasn’t expected quite this early, but Tyler Herro joined two other newcomers — Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard — in Miami’s starting lineup Monday against Atlanta.

And you shouldn’t expect it to change, after Herro scored 23 in 25 minutes in another rout, this one 120-87.

The lineup gives Miami the spacing it requires around Butler and Justise Winslow. It also allows Erik Spoelstra to reunite Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters (old 7-11 from the 2016-17 run) as what would now be the best backcourt pairing in the league, provided that Waiters gets back on the floor in the right frame of mind. Waiters is back after having gone away for “personal reasons,” coincidentally after he said he didn’t want to come off the bench. (He wasn’t active Monday).

When Kelly Olynyk returns from a knee injury, he can slide in as the versatile backup big, with Derrick Jones Jr. rotating between forward spots, and James Johnson (once in condition), Kendrick Nunn (who looked great again Monday) and Duncan Robinson (who continues to struggle with his shot) getting spot duty.

Spoelstra was noncommittal about whether he would keep the lineup together, but it would be unusual for the Heat to elevate Herro so quickly, watch him play so brilliantly and then slide him back to third team.

Not happening.

Not with support like this from Butler.

So get used to it — fans, media and, of course, Dion.

Check out Greg Sylvander’s column on Tyler Herro, the big bucket of hope.

Shifting heights… and being high on Heat roster

The NBA recently got real.

The league mandated that all teams must annually update their players height measurements without shoes and the measurements for the Heat players are finally in.

Down from “6-7” with shoes, Justise Winslow could be the potential opening night starting guard for the Heat with official height measurements of “6-6”. Rookie Tyler Herro who was drafted 13th overall from Kentucky will officially listed at 6-5 a little shorter than his combine height of 6-6, second round pick from Stanford KZ Okpala official numbers measure him at 6-8 instead of 6-9. Heat guards Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic, Winslow’s most likely potential backcourt mates, both were listed at “6-3.

The frontcourt?

The Heat’s big trade acquisition, new face of the franchise and likely starting small forward Jimmy Butler, who is “6’8” in shoes, will officially be listed an inch shorter at “6-7,” likewise for James Johnson, who is away from the team until he meets his conditioning requirements. And the same  for Duncan Robinson who also will now be officially listed an inch shorter at “6-7.” The Heat will have one 7 footer on the roster instead of two, as Meyers Leonard,  who will remain a seven footer is down by an inch from 7-1 to 7-0 and Kelly Olynyk from 7-0 to 6-11. Next in line to be the Heat franchise center, Bam Adebayo, is measured at 6-9, down from 6-10.

So basically every player except for Dragic, Devon Reed and Udonis Haslem shrunk an inch without shoes. Does this change anything? No, it doesn’t. However, while we’re discussing players heights, what this does say is that the Heat will be a lot bigger, especially in the wing positions than previous seasons. In the second quarter of the scrimmage on Sunday, with Olynyk injured, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra started a lineup of Winslow (6-6), Butler (6-7), Robinson (6-7) Adebayo (6-9) and Leonard (7-0). That is a huge line up for a heat team that often deployed 6-3 guards such as Dragic, Waiters, and Tyler Johnson together in recent years.

Another big lineup could feature Winslow, Butler and Okpala but we should expect the second-round rookie to play more in versatile lineups at the four, similar to James Johnson the last two seasons. Spoelstra could also go smaller by sliding Winslow and Butler down to the 3 and 4, with Dragic and Waiters at the 1 and 2, although I don’t think it would be wise. So many possibilities. What about Herro in the backcourt with Winslow and Butler along with Olynyk, Leonard or Jones next to Adebayo?

Needless to say, this roster is one of the more versatile and flexible groups Spoelstra has had recently. The versatility is not just measured with a ruler, but with skillsets.

Butler and the Bucket: the Love Affair continues

We first saw this Butler affair flourish in Chicago.

That’s where Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro started posting Instagram love letters to each other, shooting and sneering together in workouts.

Now, though, their affection is in full bloom.

Jimmy Butler clearly likes guys who get it. Who not only can play, but play really really hard. It’s already apparent to him that the rookie does that.

And Tuesday, in the Miami Heat’s preseason opening win against the San Antonio Spurs, Heat fans saw that up close. Herro scored 18 in his preseason debut, every which way. But he also dished, blocked, scrambled and sprinted.

And Butler loved it.

Well, he didn’t love everything.

He doesn’t love Herro’s hair.

Here’s a clip from after the game.

You’ll probably figure out when the rookie walked by him, and then walked out.

Get your Jimmy Canastas t-shirt here!

Herro Shines in Miami Heat Win Over Spurs

The night started as Jimmy Butler’s show, but it ended as Tyler Herro’s coming out party.

Herro shined in his debut, scoring a team high 18 pts while leading the team in its 89 to 107 victory over the Spurs.  Herro was a game high +29 and showed every facet of his game.

“It’s great for young guys to come in and have that confidence to be aggressive and to feel comfortable,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I’m sure he had a lot of nerves coming into tonight, not knowing what to expect.”

Spoelstra’s juge experimental starting lineup of Justise Winslow, Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, Meyers Leonard and Bam Adebayo got off to a rough start.  The defense looked porous and the offense anemic, but after a few trips up and down the floor they seemed to settle in.  Butler, especially, looked like he preferred to defer and didn’t score his first points until the second quarter – missing his first three shots mostly under duress or late in the shot clock.

Business really picked up when the bench unit entered the game late in the first quarter, led by Goran Dragic and the much-heralded Herro.  Herro’s full offensive arsenal was on display in the first half. Step back three pointers, dribble drive push shots in the lane and turnaround midrange jumpers.  By the end of the first half, Herro had the American Airlines Arena crowd breathlessly anticipating every possession.

Adebayo and Leonard proved more than capable in the rebounding department, temporarily putting to rest a large concern this offseason with the departure of Hassan Whiteside.  “We have to (rebound), not just necessarily Meyers. We have to be a group rebounding team. We talk about being one of the better defensive teams in the league, but we have to finish possessions,” said Spoelstra. The two combined for 19 rebounds while playing only 23 and 24 minutes. Adebayo also chipped in with 14 pts.

Winslow proved capable of handling the offense at times in an uneven performance, including a disappointing 0-4 from three point range after making the shot a priority this summer.  After shooting almost 38% last season, this may prove to be much ado about nothing, but it’s a play that he needs to make if he wants to continue to lead the starting unit.  Winslow finished with 11 pts, 3 assists and 4 turnovers.

Chris Silva was another bright spot for a Heat team in search of size off the bench. “He made us watch him. He’s had those moments in training camp too,” said Spoelstra.  “He had a great block tonight, but he probably had 5 blocks better than that in training camp.”

Silva finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds in only 14 minutes.