Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler had to be separated after the former got in the way of the latter on a fast-break attempt.
Butler would’ve had an easy lay-in had Young not gotten in his way just over the halfcourt stripe.
Young is a player who is comfortable playing the role of villain. He’s done it so many times before, even as recently as Friday night’s play-in game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In last year’s postseason, he had New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers fans cursing his name up and down the East coast.
Against the Miami Heat, that role is in question, as Butler isn’t a player to back down. If anything, Jimmy thrives in a similar environment. Butler is frequently the toughest basketball player in the room.
These two alpha-males came to a head early in Game 1, and had to be separated by the lead official.
No harm, but definitely a foul by Young.
How old is Jimmy Butler?
Butler is 32 years old, but he still plays with the same reckless abandon of a 21-year-old. He’s the face of this Heat team, despite young stars like Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo, as well as fellow vet Kyle Lowry sharing the same backcourt.
The back and forth between Young and Butler will be a storyline all series long. And while the two aren’t directly facing each other defensively on every possession, don’t be surprised if you see Butler take the defensive assignment of guarding Young down the stretch.