Skip Bayless: Jimmy Butler Has Completely Quit On the Miami Heat
By Liam McKeone
The Miami Heat find themselves on the brink of elimination after scoring a combined 162 points over the last two games against the terrifyingly stiff Boston Celtics defense. The Heat barely put up a fight in Game 5 on their home floor, getting outscored 56-38 in the second half of last night's contest. Now they're down 3-2 heading back to TD Garden and the team will need a Herculean effort from its stars to cobble together enough points and earn the privilege of playing at least one more game.
The onus in regards to that particular responsibility will fall almost entirely to Jimmy Butler. Kyle Lowry is hurt and/or washed, Duncan Robinson's shot is featured on the "Missing" side of the milk carton, and Bam Adebayo seems largely uninterested in the concept of offense outside of setting illegal screens. Max Strus and Gabe Vincent are delightful stories but aren't carrying a team to playoff success. Victor Oladipo hit nothing but air on back-to-back three-point shots last night. Butler is the only creator on the team, the only one who can punish the Celtics inside and put up significant point totals.
And he's been utterly disappointing in that regard for most of the series. He had a 40-burger in Game 1 and everything's been downhill from there. Butler messed up his knee in Game 3 and hasn't looked the same since, scoring 19 points in Games 4 and 5 combined. He had 13 points in 40 minutes of play last night. Skip Bayless is extremely unimpressed with the Heat star's performance, calling him "Alfred The Butler" on Twitter on Wednesday night and then taking him to task on Thursday's Undisputed in which he claims Butler is quitting on his team.
I mean, yeah, it was an abomination of a third quarter, and indeed an embarrassment of a basketball game. And if you watched any other star in the league play with the level of passivity Butler did last night, you'd think they quit on their team.
However, this is Jimmy Butler we're talking about. He is a literal competitive psychopath who has left a trail of utter destruction in his wake because his teammates wouldn't live up to his high standard of winning. Butler is many things. A quitter, he is not. It feels especially disingenuous to claim this after Butler missed the second half of Game 3 with knee inflammation. He's obviously hurt. We can acknowledge that without questioning his motivation or willingness to stick by his team.
But I suppose that's why Bayless is on TV and I'm not.