NBA: Jimmy Butler carries Heat past Magic

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Mar 15 2021 10:36 AM

NBA: Jimmy Butler carries Heat past Magic 1
Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) congratulates forward Jimmy Butler (22) after he was fouled hitting a 3-point field goal in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. File photo. Chuck Cook, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Jimmy Butler had 29 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five steals, leading the Miami Heat to a 102-97 win over the host Orlando Magic on Sunday night.

The game came down to this: Orlando trailed 100-97 with 22 seconds left. After a timeout, Orlando missed twice before Butler came up with a steal and a layup to put the game away as Miami continued its run as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, going 10-1 since Feb. 18.

Orlando, which has lost eight straight games, was led by Nikola Vucevic, who had 38 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. He made 15-of-27 shots from the floor, including 6-of-13 on 3-pointers.

The Magic's Terrence Ross, who had missed the two previous games due to a bruised knee, had a season-high 31 points. He made 10-of-19 shots from the floor, including 8-of-13 on 3-pointers.

It was the first time in three years that the Magic has had two 30-point scorers in the same game. Still, Orlando's losing streak is the franchise's longest since the 2017-2018 season. It's also the longest active skid in the Eastern Conference.

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Miami also got 22 points from Tyler Herro and 18 from Kelly Olynyk as the Heat won its fourth straight game without 2020 All-Star center Bam Adebayo (knee injury).

Early on, Miami led by as many as 12 points. But Orlando closed the first quarter on a 9-0 run, leaving the Heat with a 22-19 lead. Both teams made less than 38 percent of their field goals in the quarter, although at least Olynyk was hot with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting, including 2-for-2 on 3-pointers.

In the second quarter, Orlando cut its deficit to one point on three occasions but never grabbed the lead as Miami took a 48-45 advantage into halftime.

Vucevic led all first-half scorers with 17 points. And while both teams shot less than 41 percent from the field in the first 24 minutes, Miami had a 24-12 edge in paint points.

Orlando took its first lead of the game on Michael Carter-Williams' layup with 10:28 left in the third. Vucevic had 17 points in the third quarter, and Orlando held a 77-73 lead going into the fourth.

For the game, Miami outscored Orlando 44-24 in the paint, and that was the difference on a night in which neither team shot better than 44 percent from the floor.


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