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Butler scores 23 in 107-98 victory over Magic

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The Heat improved to 4-0 on the preseason.

Miami Heat v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Before the Miami Heat’s game against the Orlando Magic Thursday, the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang tweeted that the game would be a dress rehearsal for their regular season.

If that’s the case, Heat fans have plenty to look forward to this season.

Jimmy Butler scored 13 of his 23 points in a decisive third quarter that gave Miami a 107-98 win over the Magic and improve to 4-0 on the preseason. Butler had played passively in the preseason, but was more engaged and explosive Thursday.

Thursday also represented the first night of preseason action for Kelly Olynyk, who missed all of Miami’s training camp while he recovered from a knee injury he sustained over the summer. And Olynyk played well, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field in just 14 minutes. He came off the bench tonight — Meyers Leonard started alongside Bam Adebayo — but I would expect Olynyk to start with Adebayo when the regular season begins.

Justise Winslow played one of his better games, especially showcasing his vision of the floor with 12 assists. The fourth-year player also had seven points and six assists and had good chemistry with Butler, which will be key for this season. His performance tonight may lead Erik Spoelstra to think about starting Winslow at point guard when the season tips off.

After an off night in Miami’s last game against the Atlanta Hawks, Duncan Robinson went 4-of-8 from downtown and finished with 17 points in just 15 minutes of action. Robinson won’t start when the regular season begins next week, as he’s done in the preseason, but his superior shooting could give him a consistent spot in the rotation.

This game also featured some sparks — in fact, Tyler Herro and Michael Carter-Williams were both seemingly ejected from the game. Herro and Carter-Williams exchanged words down the floor after Herro felt he got fouled on one play. The two were then assessed double technical fouls. And then shortly after that, Herro and Carter-Williams got their arms tangled while going for a rebound. The referees later rescinded the second technical on Herro, but kept the one on Carter-Williams that ejected him.

Herro scored eight points on 2-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Miami’s other rookie from the 2019 NBA Draft, KZ Okpala, had some good moments in a brief four-minute stint to close the game. Okpala shot 3-for-4 from the field and showed some offensive versatility. But on the other hand, Okpala committed a foul on a 3-point shot.

The Heat will wrap up preseason play Friday night against the Houston Rockets at 8 p.m.