The Miami Heat couldn’t handle…the heat.
Even though they were at home and favored over the stumbling Atlanta Hawks, Erik Spoelstra’s side could never dig themselves out of the hole they got into during the first quarter.
The Hawks out-hustled them on both ends of the floor for the full 48 minutes, and that apparent lack of effort has been an issue for the Heat all year long.
Now, they’ll need to battle with either the Toronto Raptors or Chicago Bulls for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with a first-round meeting with the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks as their reward.
Needless to say, that means there will be no more room for error for the Heat going forward.
That’s why Heat star Jimmy Butler wants his team to stay confident and believe in their abilities and why he urged them to play the opposite of how they played in their matchup vs. the Hawks:
“We’d have to stay confident,” Butler said, per ESPN. “We have to know we are capable of winning, if we start out the right way and if we rebound obviously. But it’s just, I don’t know, shots don’t go in, we foul — that’s never the recipe for success with us. So come Friday, we’ve got to play, like, legit the exact opposite that we played tonight.”
Jimmy Butler: we have to start better. That’s been a problem all year. The rebounding was horrendous and they got all the second chance points. That’s the game.
Kyle Lowry: I agree pic.twitter.com/dhNVDgWugQ
— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) April 12, 2023
The Heat have shown the ability to compete at the highest level when they’re at their best, and Butler is a bonafide and proven playoff performer.
But they’ve been fairly inconsistent, and there’s just no way they’ll be able to go the distance in the playoffs if they don’t bring their best effort game in and game out.
On paper, they should find little trouble getting past either the Raptors or Bulls, but they should’ve also had a somewhat easy time beating the Hawks at home, so you never know what may happen at this point.NEXT: Fans React To What Jimmy Butler Said About The NBA Playoffs