The never-ending reality show that is the National Basketball Association was in rare form on Wednesday night, and the star at the center of it all was Jimmy Butler. He didn't break any records on the court, but he still made quite an impact in the Miami Heat's 122-108 win over the Indiana Pacers.
In addition to scoring 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting, grabbing six boards and dishing seven assists, Butler dominated the mental battle against Indiana's T.J. Warren, who was guarding Butler for most of the night, but not all of the night. Halfway through the third quarter, after the two had been jawing all night, Warren fouled Butler hard, and Butler took exception, squaring up like he was ready to fight. After the two were separated they played on, and on the very next play that Butler got the ball, he gave Warren the ol' fullback shoulder right in his chest, earning an offensive foul.
Warren, thinking he was getting under Butler's skin (which he was), began clapping at Butler as Butler walked to the other end of the court. Apparently that's an egregious offense in today's NBA, egregious enough to earn his second technical (the first came moments earlier after the hard foul), which also comes with an ejection. Butler, knowing he won the war, blew Warren a few kisses as he made his way to the locker room. THIS LEAGUE:
Genius move by Butler, who you can tell knew how smart it was when he was laughing with his teammates on the bench. Take the offensive foul and bait Warren into another tech and get him tossed. Win-win. Although, looking at Warren's line, maybe keeping him on the court would have helped:
Yikes. It got MUCH worse for Warren after the game, as Butler dumped gasoline on Warren's already dead body and then took a blowtorch to it. Honestly, that sounds a lot less harsh than what Butler actually said about him.
"To me, I think it’s tough for him because I can guard him and he can’t guard me," Butler said. "But like I said, I think you just gotta watch your mouth in certain situations. There’s some s--- that you just don’t say as a man. He’s gotta see me the next time, because I feel like what he said was truly disrespectful. And it’s all good because we see them again. I ain’t scared of nobody.
"The kid’s soft. He’s soft. He’s not even in my f---ing league. Like, nowhere near me. If I was their coach I would never put him on me, ever again. Put somebody else on me, because I’m gonna tear that s--- up every time."
Jeez Jimmy, the man has a family. Mark your calendars, folks. Pacers and Heat meet again Friday, March 20, in Indiana.