The ugliest moment of the Miami Heat season came early in the second half of Wednesday night’s 118-104 loss at FTX Arena and it had to do with far more than the Golden State Warriors’ 19-0 start to the third quarter.
Amid that surge by the shorthanded Warriors, Heat forward Jimmy Butler and Heat captain Udonis Haslem got into an argument so heated that both had to be restrained, as did coach Erik Spoelstra, during a timeout 3:21 into the second half.
Haslem was held back by center Bam Adebayo, with Butler held back by center Dewayne Dedmon and Spoelstra nudged to the side by forward Markieff Morris, the Heat’s coach visibly disgusted with Butler and about what was transpiring, pointing a stern finger at Butler.
“It’s pretty clear we have a very competitive, gnarly group, and we were getting our asses kicked,” Spoelstra said. “Virtually every single person in that huddle was very animated about our disappointment in how we were playing.”
As the Heat rallied and forced an ensuing Golden State timeout, Haslem did not approach the huddle in his typical fashion during the next break, remaining planted on the end of the bench.
“It happens,” Lowry said, “Honestly, it’s not a moment of anything. For us, it’s guys who really want to win basketball games.
“It’s crazy, but it’s passion.”
And not necessarily atypical.
“We got passionate players on this team, and coaches included,” Adebayo said. “So we’re going to have those moments when things aren’t going right.
“At the end of the day, we’re brothers. This is us at practice.”
From there the Heat rallied, on a night it was surprising a rally was needed, considering the Warriors held out Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Otto Porter for rest on the second night of a back-to-back set that opened with a Tuesday night road loss to the Orlando Magic. And that was with Warriors guard Stephen Curry already out with a foot injury.
But it wasn’t enough to avoid another bad loss in a bad week.
“We got our butt handed to us two days in a row,” power forward P.J. Tucker said.
It was a game similar to the Heat’s Monday night road loss to a Philadelphia 76ers team lacking Joel Embiid and James Harden, with those two also held out for rest.
“Everything has to be better across the board,” Spoelstra said. “It starts with our leadership.”
Amid Wednesday’s mayhem, Lowry led the Heat with 26 points, with Adebayo scoring 25 and Jimmy Butler 20.
“As long as we figure it out,” Lowry said, “that’s all that really matters. As long as we’re together, and we are.”
Tucker declared the incident over as soon as the game was over.
“We’ll get back together, everybody love each other, blah, blah, blah,” he said.
Five Degrees of Heat from Wednesday’s game:
1. Closing time: The Heat took a brief one-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors then staged a pushback that moved them to a 96-88 lead with 5:46 to play.
“Teams are playing extremely well against us,” Lowry said.
Later, a 3-pointer by Jordan Poole moved the Warriors to a 105-95 lead with 4:22 to play.
From there, as with the start of the second half, the Heat imploded, allowing a 37-point Warriors fourth quarter, with Golden State shooting .647 in the period.
“We just haven’t been good,” Tucker said.
2. Wild swing: The Heat went from a 50-50 tie at halftime to down 69-50 at the start of the third period, the 19-0 run Golden State’s longest of the season, including the games when Curry, Thompson and Green had been available.
The Heat then rallied in the wake of the Butler-Haslem incident to within 81-80 going into the fourth quarter.
After scoring 10 in the second period, Lowry scored nine in the third to fuel the Heat comeback.
“We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing,” Lowry said.
3. Stepping up: Lowry again was aggressive with his offense, including his 10 points in second quarter when he shot 4 of 4 from the field.
He then settled the Heat in the wake of Haslem-Butler in the third period, with his sixth assist helping the Heat briefly regain the lead at the start of the fourth.
Lowry’s 22nd point was the 15,000th of his career.
4. Oladipo opportunity: Victor Oladipo’s reverse driving layup with 9:22 left in the second period might have been the most encouraging moment of this latest comeback, a play made with purpose, power and poise.
Oladipo wound up playing 19:55, his longest action in his five-game return from May quadriceps surgery.
“That shows you his conditioning level,” Spoelstra said. “He was able to handle all those moments.”
With Tyler Herro out due to knee soreness, this was a moment when statements were needed from Oladipo, who missed the previous two games due to back spasms.
Oladipo closed 3 of 11 from the field for seven points, with two rebounds and no assists, the Heat outscored by 15 when he was on the court.
With Gabe Vincent missing a second consecutive game due to knee soreness, Oladipo initially entered at point guard.
Oladipo’s initial time on the court lasted 10:21, the longest stint of his return.
5. 3-for-all: At 6 of 48 on 3-pointers since Jan. 3, Butler opened 2 for 2 from beyond the arc.
It was the first time Butler made multiple 3-pointers in a game since the Heat’s Jan. 3 loss at Golden State and his fourth with multiple 3-pointers this season.
From there, Butler settled into more of his typical attacking style.
He was not made available for comment postgame.
Source: Berkshire mont