Jimmy Butler is doing everything in his power to keep the Heat in playoff contention. They currently have a 36-33 record and are the seventh seed in the Eastern conference. If the season ended today, the Heat would have to play the Bulls in a play-in game to secure a playoffs berth.
Butler had 38 points in the Heat 126-114 overtime loss and hit another big shot that sent the game into overtime. His late-game heroics have not been enough to save the Heat’s disappointing season. Last season, they finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference and made it to the conference finals before they fell to the Celtics in seven games.
Butler has averaged 26.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game over the past 10 games. He has shot the ball well from three-point range (50 percent ) and from the field overall (62.9 percent) over that 10 game span. The Heat were only able to go 4-6 over that stretch, and they have continued struggling to consistently play well.
Butler had 38 points in the Heat’s 126-114 overtime loss to the Orlando Magic on March 11, when he hit another big shot that sent the game into overtime. He displayed his frustration and decided to exit stage left in overtime after it was clear the Heat wasn’t going to secure the victory. Butler left the floor with about 10 seconds left on the clock, leading to a technical foul for the Heat because they only had four players on the floor.
Butler explained in his postgame press conference that he left the court because of the poor officiating and not the play of his team.
The Final Minutes
Butler tried to have a conversation with referee James Williams about a missed call. He felt he was slapped in the face and should’ve been at the free throw line. It is safe to assume that conversation didn’t go well for the Heat star and he decided to clock out early.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra agreed with his star and had his back.
“I’m not going to get a fine and, league, you’re not even going to think about getting a fine,” Spoelstra said, pointing straight to a camera in the postgame interview room, as if to underscore his point, according to CBS 6 South Florida.
“He got the last laugh on that one, the official did,” Spoelstra said.
The technical foul didn’t make much of difference in the outcome of the game, but of course he was asked about it.
Butler kept it short and sweet when he was asked about the technical foul that he was unaware the team received.
“I don’t give a f***,” said Butler.
He didn’t provide any further explanation on the situation and shifted focus back to the Heat loss. Butler hasn’t been the only NBA player to show frustration with late game officiating.
Fred VanVleet spoke about how terrible of job he thought referee Ben Taylor did in giving the Raptors guard a technical foul during a Toronto loss to the Clippers on March 8 in Los Angeles.
Two days before that game Raptors budding young star Scottie Barnes was ejected by longtime NBA referee Scott Foster in a loss at Denver.
You can’t mention terrible officiating from this season without talking about the missed foul by officials in Celtics–Lakers showdown on ESPN in late January. Jayson Tatum fouled Lebron James on a late game drive that could’ve given the Lakers a chance to pick up a much-needed win. It was such a blatant missed call that Patrick Beverley felt the need to show the officials a replay of the action on a camera.