NBA

Butler explains Paul altercation: Mess with my guys, you deal with me

By Sports Desk August 13, 2020

Jimmy Butler explained his intentional charge on Chris Paul in the Miami Heat's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder by saying "You gotta deal with me" if you go for one of his team-mates.

After knocking the ball away from Duncan Robinson and out of bounds in the closing stages of the second quarter on Wednesday, Paul exchanged words with the Heat guard having seemingly hurt his hand in the process.

The 10-time All-Star intercepted the subsequent inbound pass from Butler to Robinson, ripping possession away and throwing it back at him, with the rebound going out for a Thunder ball.

When the Heat came back up the floor on their next possession, Butler got Paul on a switch and intentionally barrelled him over as he drove to the rim.

Explaining the incident after the game, Butler said: "You're not gonna throw the ball at my team-mate like that. So yeah, I'll get a turnover. I'll get an offensive foul.

"We don't do that here. You mess with one of my guys, especially one of my shooters, then you gotta deal with me and everybody else."

Robinson said: "I shot-faked in the corner and I told him [Paul] I should've shot it. We went back and forth a little bit, nothing out of the ordinary for an NBA game.

"He's a really talented player, I have a lot of respect for him, but he also competes and I'm not one to back down from a challenge in that regard.

"I have a ton of respect for him but it was just a heat-of-the-moment thing."

Mike Muscala made a three-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining to earn the Thunder a 116-115 victory against the Heat, who will face the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs.

"We gonna go about everything the same we always do. Get better come tomorrow, make sure our bodies are right," said Butler about the tie with the Pacers.

"We've still got them one more time before the playoffs start, so we gotta start by sending a message then."

The Thunder will go up against the Houston Rockets in the first round, pitting Paul against his former team and James Harden, who he reportedly fell out with prior to being traded last year.

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