When your team name is Heat it’s perhaps fitting for everyone to get a bit hot under the collar – but an explosive timeout showed tempers getting the better of Miami against the Golden State Warriors.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra, star player Jimmy Butler and team stalwart Udonis Haslem saw their passions run over during Wednesday night’s defeat to a short-handed Golden State Warriors team.
Butler and Haslem were pointing and shouting at each other forcing other Miami players to separate them and Heat coach Spoelstra, normally a cool presence on the sidelines, slammed a clipboard to the floor in frustration.
“We’ve got passionate players on this team, coaches included,” center Bam Adebayo explained to reporters afterwards. “So we’re going to have those moments where things aren’t going right and we get frustrated and exposed because we’re so passionate and we want to win that badly.
“At the end of the day, we’re brothers. We’re going to get through this. This is us in practice, it just so happened, it blew up like that in the game. But in practice, we get like that , to the point where it looks like we want to fight each other because we get that mad, but it’s just the competitive nature that we have on this team. “
The Warriors were already without Stephen Curry because of a sprained left foot and Andre Iguodala with low back tightness, plus gift Draymond Green, Otto Porter Jr. and Klay Thompson the night off for injury management.
Golden State made that decision based on medical rationale and a desire to minimize the chance of injury going into the playoffs – not because of a bad loss at Orlando on Tuesday.
The Warriors scored the first 19 points of the third quarter which led to the flare-up on the sideline.
“It was crazy,” veteran guard Kyle Lowry said. “It was passion.”
The Heat responded well to the huge dust-up on the bench to come back and lead briefly in the fourth but then let the game slip away and saw theirs in the Eastern Conference race trimmed to 1.5 games over Milwaukee and Boston.
“You can use moments during the season to catapult you,” Spoelstra said. “You can galvanize together over frustration and disappointment. Teams can also go the other way. I do not see that with our group. I do not see that with our locker room. But we have needed a kick in the butt.”