Heat's Butler, Haslem, Spoelstra in shouting match amid Warriors loss

March 24 (UPI) -- Frustration resulted in a heated shouting match between coach Erik Spoelstra and Miami Heat players Jimmy Butler and Udonis Haslem during the team's recent loss to the Golden State Warriors.

The sequence occurred in the third quarter of the 118-104 setback Wednesday at FTX Arena in Miami. The game was tied 50-50 at halftime, but the Warriors started the second half with a 19-0 run. The Heat called timeout in the middle of the stretch.


"It's pretty clear: we have a very competitive, gnarly group and we were getting our [expletives] kicked," Spoelstra told reporters.

Heat players surrounded Spoelstra as he advised them at the start of the exchange. Butler was seated in front of the Heat coach. He then exchanged words with Spoelstra and appeared to challenge the coach to a fight, which got a strong reaction out of Haslem. The Heat veteran responded by challenging Butler to a fight.

Butler was then pulled out of the area by teammates. Spoelstra stood up and threw his clipboard to the ground. The Heat coach then approached Butler for a second verbal exchange before the game resumed.


"That's two straight games we were not playing to the level we want to play," Spoelstra said. "Virtually every single person in that huddle was pretty animated about our disappointment in how we were playing."

The Warriors outscored the Heat 31-30 in the third and 37-24 in the fourth. They outscored the Heat 42-13 off the bench, 42-40 in the paint and 11-8 off turnovers in the victory. The game featured nine lead changes and was tied seven times. The Warriors beat the top team in the Eastern Conference, despite playing without stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Spoelstra said he doesn't expect the frustration to carry over into the team's next game.

Butler recorded 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in the setback. Heat guard Kyle Lowry scored 26 points and logged nine assists. Heat center Bam Adebayo totaled 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Jordan Poole led the Warriors with a game-high 30 points. Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and Damion Lee scored 22 points apiece in the win.


"That was crazy, but it's passion," Lowry said. "We have a lot of competitive guys, one being our biggest competitor -- our head coach. Jimmy and Udonis are tough, competitive guys. It's good to sometimes get some anger frustration out and talk about it.

"We are going to have situations that make people uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, as long as we are comfortable and figure it out, that's all that really matters."

The Warriors (48-25) face the Atlanta Hawks (36-37) at 7:30 p.m. EDT Friday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The Heat (47-26) host the New York Knicks (31-42) at 8 p.m. Friday in Miami.

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