The Miami Heat have proven they can play well without forward Jimmy Butler this season.
There are also the times they have struggled without their leader. That was the case in Wednesday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The defeat ended the Heat's six-game winning streak. Butler has missed the past two games because of a knee injury.
“I think we struggled a little bit offensively tonight as a team, just sharing the ball," guard Tyler Herro said. "I think we got away from what led to that win streak. We just have to get back to it. It’s not going to be perfect every night. Just have to stick with what got us in this position and we’ll be fine.”
Without Butler, the Heat are minus their top penetrator. It puts more pressure on Herro and Duncan Robinson on the perimeter because there are fewer open looks due to Butler's ability to draw defenders.
“The obvious one is that it’s just our attacking," forward Duncan Robinson said. "The pressure he puts on the rim and his ability to get to the free throw line. A lot of the time, if you’re getting to the free throw line you can control the pace of the game. I think that’s obviously something that sticks out. He’s a really unselfish player. He’s dynamic. He does a lot of things offensively and defensively.”
It also puts center Bam Adebayo in a position where he has to be more effective.
“I have to do more, plain and simple," Adebayo said when Butler doesn't play. "I have to be better for my teammates.”
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