It started with a hard-ish foul, intense jawing, the players being restrained and a double technical foul. When play resumed, Butler lowered his shoulder into Warren for an offensive foul. Clapping, Warren followed Butler and received a second technical and ejection. Butler blew Warren kisses. Warren flipped off Butler.
After the game, Butler explained how much better he is than Warren and why that was the root of Warren’s frustration:
Butler accentuated his point on Instagram:
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler and Indiana Pacers guard T.J. Warren have each been fined for their roles in an incident during the Heat’s 122-108 win over the Pacers on Jan. 8 … it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
With 6:29 remaining in the third quarter, Butler and Warren each received technical fouls for having come face-to-face in a hostile manner. With 6:22 remaining in the third quarter, Butler committed an offensive foul against Warren, which has been upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 1 upon league office review. The foul call on Butler prompted a taunt from Warren, which resulted in his second technical foul and subsequent ejection. Following his ejection, Warren made an obscene gesture. After the game, Butler continued to escalate the incident via social media.
Warren has been fined $25,000 for engaging in an altercation and making an obscene gesture following his ejection. Butler has been fined $35,000 for engaging in an altercation and escalating the incident on social media postgame.
This is a great feud. Just a ton of action on and off the court. I look forward to March 20.
I don’t understand why the NBA cited “social media,” though. Butler’s Instagram post was fairly tame. His standard postgame interview was far harsher. Neither deserved a fine. The upgrade to a flagrant foul also seems excessive and mostly a product of what came next.
Maybe the league felt bad for Warren. After all, Butler was right: He really bested Warren in this.