Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra yells at Jimmy Butler...

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra yells at Jimmy Butler during a time out in the second half against the Golden State Warriors at FTX Arena on March 23, 2022, in Miami, Florida. Credit: TNS/Eric Espada

MIAMI — When the Miami Heat’s run through a season that has them sitting atop the Eastern Conference was interrupted Wednesday by a very visible confrontation between All-Star Jimmy Butler and coach Erik Spoelstra, with other players having to separate them and Udonis Haslem threatening Butler, it might have been shocking to most observers.

But Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau and Taj Gibson, who were with Butler in Chicago and Minnesota — enduring their own dust-ups among the many joyous moments — weren’t surprised or troubled by it. Preparing to face the Heat on Friday night, they saw it as business as usual for a team chasing a championship.

“That’s normal when it comes to championship-style basketball,” Gibson said after the Knicks’ morning shootaround at FTX Arena. “Not everybody’s going to have a cool head all season. You’re going to have little outbreaks along the way. That’s just a test of camaraderie and it’s a test of how you can come back and try to get another strong win.

“What they are going through is just normal. You look at the Miami Heat from previous years, they’ve been through it with LeBron [James], [Chris] Bosh, those guys. It’s just a part of the process of a long season. Because you’ve got to think, we do see each other more than we see our families. So we’re going to have hot heads sometimes.”

Thibodeau embraced Butler’s competitive nature during their time together. He rose from an end-of-the-first-round selection to a leader on the Bulls teams Thibodeau coached to postseason runs. Thibodeau then traded for Butler in Minnesota before sending him to Philadelphia in a trade as things turned sour.

Like Gibson, Thibodeau believes that it is a natural part of competitive people in the room, just usually happening behind closed doors. The Knicks have had their own moments in this season of frustration, most notably from Julius Randle, but it hasn’t been — at least publicly — among themselves.

“I think every team goes through things like that,” Thibodeau said. “More often than not, nobody sees it. When you put competitive people together, there are going to be disagreements. This organization stands for a lot of things — competitiveness, toughness, basketball IQ, that’s all a big part of who they are.

“I love Jimmy, I coached him. I love Haslem, I don’t know him. Spo is a terrific coach. They’re sitting on top of the East. I had a chance to coach Jimmy. But being around Kyle Lowry, too, and knowing how competitive he is, and PJ Tucker, I think those guys added a lot to this team. When you look at the difference between last year and this year, that’s probably the biggest difference right there. And don’t let me overlook Bam [Adebayo]. He’s cut from the same cloth.”

Notes & quotes: Obi Toppin and Jericho Sims replaced  Randle and Mitchell Robinson in the starting lineup Friday night. Randle and Robinson participated in some of the morning shootaround, as did Derrick Rose. “He did some in practice today,” Thibodeau said of Rose, who has been sidelined since Dec. 16. “He’s in the next phase right now. He still hasn’t taken contact.”

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