Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, including two late free throws in overtime, to lead the Miami Heat to victory over the Brooklyn Nets 96-95.
New York – Jimmy Butler returned after missing seven games due to a sprained toe and scored 31 points, including two free throws with 11.8 seconds left in overtime, to help the Miami Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets 96-95 on Monday night.
“I’m glad we won,” Butler said. “I think I’ve done enough running and conditioning so I can come back and play 40 (minutes). Whatever it takes, we have to do.”
Tyler Herro scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Bam Adebayo added 11 points and 20 rebounds, as Miami achieved its third consecutive victory.
“I think that’s good for us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what I wanted, to see if we could win some games with different solutions when we weren’t necessarily shooting, where it can get a little ugly, and then you just have to figure out how to win in the end.”
Mikal Bridges scored 26 points and Cam Thomas added 23 points for Brooklyn. The Nets lost for the third time in a row and eight of their last nine games.
“We’re in a situation now where you have to perform well, and that’s across the board,” Nets coach Jack Vaughn said. “This challenges the whole group from the beginning of the match until the end, as you have to be composed and give everything you have on both ends of the pitch.”
After scoring 31 points in the first half, the lowest level during the season, the Heat came back strong after the break, led by Herro and Butler. Herro scored 23 points in the second half and overtime, and Butler scored 21 points in that period, to help Miami beat Brooklyn 57-43 in the third and fourth quarters.
“The first half was not beautiful at all,” Herro said. “They were opening the game when they were on defense, running everything and messing everything up, and the pace of the game was slow. I was just trying to find holes in the defense where I could be aggressive.”
Miami turned up the heat on Brooklyn and held them to 30.9% shooting in the second half. Bridges forced overtime with two free throws with 4.4 seconds left and Brooklyn scored the first five points of overtime, before Miami closed out the game on an 8-2 run and stopped Bridges’ jumper in the final seconds.
“This is three games in a row where we’ve been able to hold our opponent under 100 (points),” Spoelstra said. “This is progress, and there were a lot of moving parts, but I appreciate the group for not making any excuses about it.”
The Nets have lost 12 of their previous 15 Monday games and have allowed 120.3 points per game in that span. However, Brooklyn stepped up on defense in the first half against the Heat, holding them to shoot 26.2% from the field in the first half, their lowest field goals-to-half percentage since April 2022.
Led by Thomas’ 12 points off the bench, Bridges’ 11 points and 7 rebounds, the Nets led 45-31 at halftime.
“I don’t think a 14-point difference is good for anyone in this league,” Butler said. “But if we keep taking the right shots, they’ll eventually come in. But the main thing is we have to start guarding someone, and then good things happen.”
heat: In Toronto on Wednesday evening.
Window: In Portland on Wednesday evening.
(Tags for translation) NBA