Butler challenges Heat 'to grow up a little bit' after Wizards collapse
The Miami Heat's four-game winning streak ended Saturday due to a late-game collapse against the Washington Wizards. For Jimmy Butler, the result served as a much-needed wake-up call for a group flirting with complacency.
"I think when everybody's giving you all this praise all the time, you think you deserve it. You think that you're supposed to be talked about like that. And that's not the case," Butler told the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman.
Butler scored a game-high 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting for the Heat, who coughed up a 10-point advantage with 4:42 to play in the fourth quarter to drop their road record to 5-5. The five-time All-Star says complacency is in part to blame for the defeat.
"Probably because we stop doing what we were doing to get those leads," Butler added. "We tend to get comfortable - that's a bad thing. Whenever you're comfortable, you get complacent. You think it's going to just keep going that way and, for us, at least, it doesn't."
The Wizards shot 73.3% from the field and made five of their nine 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, prompting Butler to identify his team's defensive play down the stretch as a reason for the loss and for a recent trend of late-game letdowns on the road.
The Heat relinquished a nine-point lead with under five minutes left in regulation of their overtime loss at the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 10, then nearly gave away a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 111-105 victory in Utah three days later.
"I think it's more so the defense, seriously," Butler said. "You don't have to remind guys of that. We know."
"We're all grown men here. I just think everybody's got to grow up a little bit and realize if we want to be a really good team, we've got to win these games. We've got to hold on to these leads. We've got to keep playing basketball the right way. Keep getting stops, even when we're not making shots."
Miami now sits fourth in the Eastern Conference with an 11-6 record. They will face the lowly Detroit Pistons on Wednesday in Motown.
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