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Butler comes in late as Heat salvage 87-82 win at Indiana after dropping 19-point lead – The Denver Post

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In a season where the Miami Heat seemingly can’t have a good thing, Monday night’s 19-point second-quarter lead against the Indiana Pacers seemed like an illusion.

In the middle of the third quarter, it was a deficit.

Because there is apparently nothing easy for Erik Spoelstra’s team, no matter how good the opponent, no matter where.

Fortunately, there is Jimmy Butler.

And luckily, in a game where points were hard to come by, the Heat got a seven-point run from Butler when they needed it most late in the fourth quarter, allowing the Heat to escape with a 87-82 victory at Gainbridge Arena, the lowest in the NBA. – game scorer of the season.

No, it wasn’t a question of style.

But at this point, the Heat take it and move on, amid the continued quest for .500 and beyond.

Butler finished with 20 points.

Bam Adebayo provided the power element, closing with 22 points and 17 rebounds as the Heat improved to 13-15.

Five degrees of heat from Monday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 26-19 after the first quarter, increased to 19 in the second, but saw that lead reduced to 47-42 at intermission, after an 18-4 run at Indiana to close out the second quarter.

The Heat then fell behind in the third, before taking a 67-64 lead in the fourth.

A 3-point Kyle Lowry with 3:54 left then staked the Heat to a 77-73 lead, with Butler’s seven-point run giving the Heat an 84-75 lead with 2:25 remaining.

Yes, it still wasn’t over, with a Buddy Heild 3-pointer with 42 seconds left after a Heat turnover moving the Pacers to 86-82.

And then another Heat turnover, on an inbound pass from Lowry.

This time, however, the Pacers returned the favor with a turnover, with Myles Turner going out of bounds.

That put Adebayo on the line with 22 seconds left, as he made just the second of two free throws for an 87-82 lead, with the Heat holding on from there.

2. Simply offensive: To put into perspective how difficult it was to reach the fourth quarter, consider that the 131 points were the lowest in three quarters in an NBA game this season, according to The Associated Press.

Beyond the Heat’s 26-point first quarter, no team has scored more than 23 points in a period at this point.

The Heat were 7 of 29 on 3-pointers going into the fourth.

3. Adebayo Attacks: After an effort in Saturday’s home loss to the San Antonio Spurs below his recent standards, with 12 points and nine rebounds against the Spurs, Adebayo was 15 points and 12 rebounds at halftime.

Adebayo had nine rebounds and nine points in 8:40 of the second period.

He was at 19 points and 15 rebounds going into the fourth quarter.

4. Strus revived: Benched for the second half of Saturday’s loss to Spurs, Max Strus was back in his regular rotation role, first to come on the bench.

He quickly converted a pair of first 3-pointers.

He also stayed in the mix in the second half.

Spoelstra remained somewhat coy about Saturday’s late benching of Strus in favor of Duncan Robinson.

“The attempt was to trigger something with this second unit,” Spoelstra said earlier Monday of Saturday’s move with Strus.

Strus finished with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting, all on 3-pointers.

5. Oladipo returns: The game was the first back for Oladipo since being dealt by the Pacers to the Houston Rockets in January 2021. The Pacers played a pregame tribute video, with Oladipo receiving a warm welcome.

Oladipo, who is finishing his first week of action after recovering from pre-season knee pain, came on midway through the first half, playing briefly alongside Butler and Herro.

After missing his first three shots, Oladipo converted a 3-pointer late in the third period for his first points.

Oladipo finished with five points, four rebounds and four assists.

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