In the final 38 seconds of regulation, Jimmy Butler missed a free throw and a potential game-winning 3 as time expired. The Toronto Raptors had gone on an 11-3 run to close the game and had seemingly all the momentum going into overtime.
Butler put a stop to that quickly.
In the first minute of overtime, Butler converted on an and-one opportunity, made a 3 and came up with a breakaway steal and dunk to put the Heat up 116-108. The Heat held on to win their best game of the season behind Butler’s fifth career triple-double, 121-110.
Despite losing Kawhi Leonard in free agency, the Raptors had started the season 14-5 and were 9-0 at home going into Tuesday’s game. The Heat had racked up disappointing road losses to the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers in the last two weeks. Tonight, the Heat played one of their best defensive games against an explosive team.
Butler finished with 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in 41 minutes of action. He crashed the offensive glass for put-backs, connected with Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson for easy scores and, of course, took over the game to open the overtime period.
But on defense, Butler teamed up with fellow stalwarts Adebayo and Justise Winslow for some sensational D. Butler defended Kyle Lowry, while Adebayo guarded Pascal Siakam. Both did spectacular jobs.
Justise. Jimmy. Bam. pic.twitter.com/5qFnwG0z9H— Jasmine Thomas Fan Acct. (@NekiasNBA) December 4, 2019
On the offensive side of the court, Adebayo scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with seven boards. In an encouraging sign, Adebayo also made a few short jumpers; both the Sixers and the Nets sagged off him considerably, making it harder for him to pass the ball. Making these jumpers will force opposing bigs to defend him.
Jimmy has a team-high six assists, including this one to Bam for a smooth jumper. Good to see. pic.twitter.com/wvZF9BP4hm— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) December 4, 2019
Winslow contributed 17 points of his own on 8-of-17 shooting from the field to go along with nine rebounds and four assists. Offensively, Winslow was a bit of a mixed bag. He missed some floaters he should’ve made, but also made nice passes for key buckets. He also had a nice block on a Serge Ibaka dunk attempt.
Miami runs a high P&R with Winslow/Bam. The key is Olynyk in the corner. Toronto is focused on the ball, Olynyk with a back cut (aka a ghost cut) from the corner. Tip toes the baseline and draws the foul. pic.twitter.com/yLyoGcrXRx— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) December 4, 2019
Aside from Butler, Winslow and Adebayo — whom I view as the Heat’s most important players — Duncan Robinson made six 3-pointers on his way to 22 points on the night. Robinson was the Heat offensive for stretches of the third quarter. Erik Spoelstra opted to play Kendrick Nunn, who struggled mightily through a 3-for-16 shooting night, over Robinson in crunch time, though. Shortly after Robinson checked into the game late in the fourth, Spoelstra yanked him for Nunn after Robinson committed an ill-advised foul.
Kelly Olynyk was part of the Heat’s crunch-time lineup, and he scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field. Olynyk played just six minutes in the Heat game in Brooklyn, but logged 35 tonight.
Derrick Jones Jr. played just 10 seconds against the Nets, but was part of the Heat’s second unit Tuesday night. Jones got 16 minutes of run, scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds. Jones also defended Siakam when Adebayo went to the bench. Chris Silva did not play. And neither did Dion Waiters, despite Goran Dragic’s absence.
The Heat will travel to Boston to face the Celtics Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.