Butler and Spoelstra are known as basketball purists, a competitive player-coach duo that helped lead Miami to its first Finals berth since 2014 last season.
“(We) keep it real with one another,” Butler said of his relationship with Spoelstra, as relayed by Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “We got in a little predicament [Wednesday against the Spurs]. But it’s nothing new. Everything is not all good all the time. But we both want to win, we both have the same agenda.
“So I think he’s helping me grow a tremendous amount, talking about leadership as a player and what to look for with my guys. He’s making sure that I put a lot of trust in my teammates and in my young guys, and I appreciate him for it.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:
- Pistons rookie Killian Hayes is still playing with a sense of urgency despite his team being eliminated from playoff contention, as relayed by Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The 19-year-old Hayes was the team’s No. 7 pick in the draft last year and has only appeared in 19 games this season due to injury.
- The Bulls need more production from rookie Patrick Williams, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times opines. “I’m trying to be aggressive,’’ Williams said. “But kind of like I said, it’s a learning experience, for sure. We have some more games to go, so hopefully I can continue to get better at that.’’ On the season, Williams has averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game across 63 starts.
- The red-hot Wizards have three secret weapons in the middle, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post writes. Boswell examines the production the club has received from Daniel Gafford, Robin Lopez and Alex Len, all of whom have seen valuable minutes in recent weeks. Washington has been playing without its starting center, Thomas Bryant, since he suffered a partially torn ACL in January.