Jimmy Butler doubles down on bold prediction ahead of highly-anticipated rematch

Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons
Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

On Friday night, the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans will face off for the first time since the teams’ brawl last month that led to ejections and suspensions.

It happened in New Orleans on Feb. 23 after Kevin Love fouled Zion Williamson. As Williamson fell the court, Jimmy Butler and Pelicans forward Naji Marshall began shoving each other under the basket. That shoving match quickly escalated and both players grabbed each other by the neck.

From there, players and coaches from both teams rushed the court to break up the fight between Butler and Marshall. During the melee, Heat center Thomas Bryant and Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado exchanged punches.

Jimmy Butler didn't hesitate to double down on his prediction that the Miami Heat would beat the New Orleans Pelicans in their second matchup of the season after last month's brawl.

After officials broke up the fight, ejections were adjudicated for Bryant, Butler, Marshall and Alvarado. The league handed out suspensions for three Heat players (Butler, Bryant and Nikola Jovic, who left the bench) and two Pelicans players (Marshall and Alvarado).

The Heat won the game, 106-95. In the postgame locker room, Butler guaranteed the Heat would beat the Pelicans when the teams met again the next month.

“We’ll beat them the next time, too,” Butler said then. “We’re just the better team. We’re not going to say that they’re not a good team. But I don’t think this really matters. I think that when we get them on out home court, it’s going to be a different game. I hope they’re healthy and it’s going to be the same outcome.”

Next time is Friday. The Heat (38-31) host the Pelicans (42-27) at Kaseya Center with both teams jockeying for playoff position in their respective conferences. The Heat enter as winners of three of their last four, while the Pelicans had won seven of eight before Thursday night’s loss to the Orlando Magic.

The Heat have won their last seven games against the Pelicans. Butler predicts they will extend the franchise streak to eight. 

“Of course,” Butler said when asked after Wednesday’s win in Cleveland if he stands by his guarantee. “I don’t go into any game saying we’re going to lose, but we’re going to get a win. It’s on our home floor anyways. We’re going to be fine.”

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