Things got heated in the Miami Heat huddle during a timeout in the second half of Wednesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors.
The game was tied 50-50 at halftime, but the Warriors scored the first 19 points of the second half. During a timeout in that run, tempers boiled over on the Heat bench.
Miami star Jimmy Butler and longtime Heat stalwart Udonis Haslem had to be separated by teammates as they exchanged words. Haslem was heard repeatedly telling Butler “I’ll beat your ass,” in a video captured by a fan sitting courtside.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra also appeared to have strong words for Butler.
Despite the commotion, the Heat responded to the Warriors’ big run with a 19-6 run of their own and entered the fourth quarter trailing by only one point. The Warriors pulled out the win in the end, though, 118-104. Butler finished with 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting. Haslem, who has been on the Heat since 2003 and is the oldest player in the NBA at 41 years old, did not play.
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Heat players and Spoelstra downplayed the incident after the game.
“We have a very competitive, gnarly group and we were getting our asses kicked,” Spoelstra said. “It’s two straight games we’re not playing to the level that we wanted to play. I would say virtually every single person in that huddle was pretty animated about our disappointment in how we were playing.”
The loss, on the heels of a 113-106 setback vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, dropped the Eastern Conference leaders to 47-26 on the season.
“It’s crazy. But it’s passion,” Heat guard Kyle Lowry said of the heated moment. “We’re in a situation where we have a lot of competitive guys. Our biggest competitor is our head coach and you know Jimmy and UD – tough, competitive guys.
“It’s good to sometimes get some anger and frustration out and just talk about it. We’re going to have situations that make people uncomfortable. But at the end of the day as long as we’re comfortable and we figure it out that’s all that really matters. As long as we’re still together – and we are.”
Spoelstra suggested Wednesday’s blowup could help the Heat in the long run.
“You can use moments during a season to catapult you,” Spoelstra said. “You can galvanize together over frustration and disappointment. Teams can also go the other way. I don’t see that with our group. I don’t see that with our locker room. But we have needed a kick in the butt.”
Contributing: Associated Press