Facing the Miami Heat on the second night of a back-to-back wasn’t exactly an easy task for the Cleveland Cavaliers, especially when they’re coming off an overtime game against the Philadelphia 76ers. And this exact circumstance proved to be a recipe for disaster for the Cavs after they suffered a blowout loss at the hands of last year’s NBA Finals runner-up, 129-96. But despite this terrible defeat, a matchup against the Heat was an opportunity for new Cavs sharpshooter Max Strus to see familiar faces on the opposing team’s bench.

Strus, in particular, shared a heartwarming moment with Heat star Jimmy Butler. At the conclusion of the lopsided contest, Butler and Strus embraced each other, with the former even resting his head on the latter’s shoulder.

Via ClutchPoints Twitter (X):

There’s nothing like mounting a deep playoff run together as underdogs that brings a team closer together, and that’s exactly what the Heat did during the 2023 playoffs. Jimmy Butler may have stolen the show with his incredible scoring outbursts, but he did not lead Miami all the way to the NBA Finals on his own. He needed contributions from the rest of the Heat supporting cast, including Max Strus, who played heavy minutes for the team for their entire playoff run.

Strus is a diligent worker on the court, always moving without the basketball and always battling on the defensive end of the court. He is also very self-aware; he plays within the system and is always willing to move the basketball while being confident in his ability to make threes. These characteristics are what made him such an enticing free-agent target for the Cavs, especially when they were in need of some floor-spacing from the small forward position.

Now with a bigger role on the Cavs, Max Strus has flashed better playmaking chops and impressive effort on the glass, averaging career-bests in dimes and rebounds through the first few games of his stint in Cleveland. Clearly, his time playing alongside Jimmy Butler on the Heat has done wonders for the development of his all-around game, which should only bode well for the Cavs’ long-term prospects.