The NBA playoffs are about to start, and while Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat will not have to worry about the Oklahoma City Thunder (given that the two teams are in separate conferences) things still got pretty intense between the two squads recently. In fact, Butler actually called out Chris Paul after Miami’s narrow loss to the Thunder.
The Oklahoma City Thunder barely beat the Miami Heat
Heading into Miami’s seeding game against the Thunder, the Eastern Conference playoffs had already been set. Jimmy Butler and the Heat will play the Indiana Pacers.
That meant that a win or loss did not mean too much in the grand scheme of things for the Heat, especially since no teams get home-court advantage this year. However, Miami’s matchup with Oklahoma City still ended up being pretty close.
The Thunder actually went into the fourth quarter down 100-82. However, they ultimately stormed back and tied it 113-113 with 34 seconds left. Then, after Solomon Hill gave the Heat a two-point lead with 11 seconds left, Mike Muscala made a 3-pointer for the Thunder with five seconds on the clock. The shot was ultimately the game-winner as the Thunder won 116-115.
By the end of the night, the Thunder also found out their first-round playoff matchup as they will face the Houston Rockets.
Jimmy Butler called out Chris Paul after the game
Butler did not play at all in the second half for the Heat, and Paul did not play in the fourth quarter. However, the two superstars still made their marks in the game.
Prior to halftime, it appeared that Chris Paul and Heat foward Duncan Robinson went back and forth a bit. Then, moments later, Paul intercepted a poor inbounds pass and threw the Ball at Robinson while he was falling out of bounds, ensuring sure that the Thunder got possession.
Butler then stood up for his teammate the next time down as he ran Paul over while driving to the rim. Butler also commented about it following the game.
“You’re not gonna throw the ball at my teammate like that. … We don’t do that here,” Butler said, according to Yahoo Sports. “You mess with one of my guys, especially one of my shooters, then you gotta deal with me and everybody else.”
The Thunder and Heat won’t face each other again this year unless they meet in the NBA Finals. Butler seemed pretty mad, though, so maybe this will carry over into next season.
How far can the Thunder and Heat go in the playoffs?
Both the Thunder and Heat are locked into the four-five matchups of their respective conferences. They both certainly have chances to find success in the playoffs too.
The Thunder play James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and the Houston Rockets in the first round. However, Westbrook is supposed to miss the start of the series due to a strained right quad muscle, which could certainly help the Thunder.
Whether the Rockets have Westbrook or not, though, Oklahoma City has an excellent roster and a great chance to make a nice run in the playoffs. In addition to Paul, who is averaging 17.6 points per game and 6.7 assists, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 19.1 points per game for the Thunder, Danilo Gallinari is averaging 19 points per game, and Dennis Schroder is averaging 18.9 points per game.
The Heat also have an excellent chance to go deep in the playoffs. In addition to Butler, who is averaging 19.9 points per game, Goran Dragic is averaging 16.2 points per game, Bam Adebayo is averaging 15.9 points per game, and Kendrick Nunn is averaging 15.2 points per game. The Heat also just beat the Pacers, who they are facing in the first round, 114-92 on Aug. 10.
Oklahoma City and Miami have some excellent teams. Maybe, they will go on some surprise runs to the NBA Finals too, so that Butler and Paul can go at it again.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference