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The Miami Heat entered Wednesday night in first place in the Eastern Conference by a two-game margin over the Milwaukee Bucks, but with 10 games to play and having cooled off a touch of late, going 6-4 in their last 10 games, the final push for the top-seed in the East is very much on the mind.
Miami found itself tied at 50-50 at the half with the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, but came out ice cold after halftime and watched as Golden State went on a 19-0 run across the first 4.5 minutes of the third quarter. In the middle of that run, Erik Spoelstra called a timeout to try and settle his team down, but that only proved to make matters worse as star Jimmy Butler and longtime veteran Udonis Haslem had to be physically separated after getting into a very heated argument on the bench — with Spoelstra then ripping into Butler at the end.
Jimmy Butler was HEATED in the Miami huddle after the Warriors went on a big run to start the second half pic.twitter.com/6waBmHlL1r
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 24, 2022
It’s unclear what exactly happened that led to this, but clearly something Butler said in the huddle set Haslem off, who sees himself as the vocal leader of the team and led to quite the confrontation. Bam Adebayo quickly corralled Haslem with a bear hug, while Dewayne Dedmon walked Butler away from the huddle to try and calm everyone down.
A courtside video shows a little bit of what happened before the TV cameras picked it up, as whatever Butler said, Spoelstra also took exception to, asking Butler “do you want me to fu**ing fight you?” before Haslem began saying “I’ll beat your ass,” which is where the other videos pick it up.
Haslem telling Jimmy Butler “I’ll beat your ass” pic.twitter.com/9AcQiNw6WY
— Ted Budd (@TedBuddy8) March 24, 2022
The good news for Miami is the Heat eventually responded with a run of their own to close the gap back down to just one point in the third quarter. One would anticipate the two players to brush it off after the game as competitiveness, but it was certainly an interesting moment for the East’s current top seed.