Jimmy Butler not only was able to return to the court for the Miami Heat after a 10-game absence, he looked dominant with a season-high 30 points to help lead the Miami Heat to a 105-104 win against the visiting Sacramento Kings. It wasn’t easy, and the Heat needed every single point to stave off a late rally led by De’Aaron Fox’s 17 points in the final quarter but they held on late with a good defensive sequence with four seconds left, ending with a Bam Adebayo deflection to seal the victory.
Adebayo added 18 points and 13 rebounds in a game where he looked great at times and at other times was indecisive and turnover-prone. Miami still needed him to be the same player he was when Butler was out, but he had a few rough plays including a late play in which Buddy Hield swiped the ball away from Adebayo and subsequently nailed a 3-pointer that could have cost the game. Even still, his game-saving block and his play on both ends of the court continue to dazzle and Butler’s activity allowed Adebayo to make the defense pay (and once Goran Dragic returns as well this team will look mighty dangerous). Adebayo’s mid-range game is becoming a thing of beauty with that soft touch.
Tyler Herro may not be at 100% just yet in his second game back, but he’s certainly rounding into form with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in 40 minutes. Duncan Robinson went 4-8 from 3-point territory for 14 points, though the team as a whole didn’t shoot particularly well from there — as they went 11-32 for the game. The one starter who struggled in seven scoreless minutes was second-year player KZ Okpala, to the extent that Kelly Olynyk (who led the team with a +14 and scored 11 points) started the second half.
Though it seemed like the Kings suffered the most costly turnovers during the late stages of the game that gave the Heat welcome relief from Fox’s offensive onslaught, the Heat only finished with one less turnover by the end. There was an especially rough offensive stretch where the Heat’s 11-point lead at 91-80 suddenly vanished thanks to Fox’s nonstop quickness allowing him to penetrate at will while also being deadly from deep.
Through it all, it was Butler’s constant probing and aggressiveness that got him consistently to the free throw line (14 on a season-high 16 attempts and more than the Kings as a team) but always looking to get his teammates involved. He finished with not just a season high in points but also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out eight assists without a single turnover.