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Heat evade second-half comeback attempt by Wizards for 119-112 win

Herro was spectacular off the bench, but the Heat got sloppy in the end.

Washington Wizards v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Despite a furious fourth-quarter comeback attempt, the Miami Heat escaped with the 119-112 win over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night, clinching a four-game sweep of its homestand at FTX Arena.

At one point, the Heat led by 28 — 85-57 — with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter. The Wizards outscored Miami 55-34 from that point on, including 39-28 in the fourth quarter and 24-15 across the final six minutes.

Their comeback attempt, however, fell short. Though Washington cut the deficit to single digits with just over two minutes remaining, six straight Heat points from Jimmy Butler plus a pair of free throws from Omer Yurtseven and Tyler Herro each iced the game in the waning moments to escape with the seven-point victory.

With Udonis Haslem and Max Strus joining Kyle Lowry in health and safety protocols on Tuesday, Miami operated with eight players, though nine were active.

It didn’t matter.

Miami’s trio of Butler, Herro and Duncan Robinson combined to score 83 of its 119 points en-route to its fourth-straight victory.

Butler recorded his fifth double-double of the season and was two rebounds shy of tallying his second triple-double. He finished with 25 points, collecting eight rebounds and dished out a career-high 15 assists in just his second game back from a tailbone injury.

Herro tallied a season-high 32 points — his third 30-point game of 2021-2022 and the seventh of his career (including playoffs) — on 9-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc; Robinson sunk a season-high eight triples (on 16 attempts), finishing with 26 points. Omer Yurtseven notched the second-and-only career double-double — coming in consecutive games — with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Yurtseven, Butler, Herro and Robinson were Miami’s only double figure scorers on the evening. Overall, the Heat shot 44.6 percent from the floor and 47.1 percent (16-34) from 3-point range.

Washington, on the other hand, shot 49.4 percent and 40.5 percent from 3-point range.

Spencer Dinwidde was also just shy of finishing with a triple-double of his own, tallying team-highs in points (24), assists (11) with seven rebounds, shooting 8-of-16 from the floor and 4-of-10 from 3-point range. Kyle Kuzma had 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting with seven rebounds.

Daniel Gafford had 16 points and grabbed a team-high 11 boards — his fifth double-double of the season — on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting. Davis Bertans added 19 points on 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc in 21 minutes off the bench.

Like Miami and seemingly half the NBA, Washington was also depleted with only eight active players — the league minimum. It also had eight in health and safety protocols entering Tuesday, including star guard Bradley Beal, Montrezl Harrell, Thomas Bryant, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rui Hachimura and Aaron Holiday.

The Heat have won eight of their last 10 and move to 22-13, 2.5 games back of the first seed in the East. The Wizards have now lost nine of their last 12 and drop to 17-17.

Kuzma’s 3-pointer gave the Wizards the early 9-8 lead; Kuzma tallied eight of Washington’s first nine points. The Wizards sunk three of their first four triples.

The two teams traded leads throughout the middle of the first quarter, though straight Butler three-point play conversions plus his second-chance layup put Miami ahead 28-21 with 2:51 left in the first quarter. Butler opened with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists in the game’s first 9:09.

The Heat ended the final 4:15 of the opening quarter on an 18-3 run. Back-to-back Herro 3-pointers rewarded Miami with the 38-24 advantage at the conclusion of the game’s first 12 minutes. Miami did not record a turnover in the first 18:48.

Vincent’s 3-pointer widened Miami’s lead to 47-31, prompting a Wizards timeout. Garrett’s three-point play conversion — courtesy of Caleb Martin’s bounce pass in transition — made it 50-33.

Dinwiddie’s 3-pointer followed by Craig Sword’s layup cut it to 55-43 with 4:14 remaining in the half, but Herro’s third triple of the half opened the lead back up to 15.

Miami entered halftime with a 65-51 lead. Herro (20), Butler (14) and Robinson (12) combined for 46 of its 65 points. It shot 47.8 percent, including 9-of-17 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range and 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) from the free-throw line in the first half; the Wizards shot 46.3 percent with a 33.3 3-point percentage (6-18) and 87.5 percent (7-8) from the charity stripe.

Robinson didn’t take long to become the team’s second 20-point scorer, scoring the team’s first 11 points — with three 3s — in the first 4:07 out of halftime, giving the Heat a 76-55 lead. Butler’s steal-and-score followed by Yurtseven’s fastbreak jam — Butler’s 12th assist — upped it to 80-55, capping a 17-4 Heat run.

Bertans’ fourth triple cut it to 85-66 with 2:46 left in the third quarter. Back-to-back KZ Okpala buckets made it 91-71.

Two straight triples from Avdija and Bertans trimmed it to 94-79. Dinwiddie’s 3-pointer cut it to 104-91 with 5:55 remaining. Kuzma’s three-point followed by Kispert’s corner triple put the deficit at 8, 109-101, with 2:12 remaining.

Butler, despite hurting his ankle, Herro and Yurtseven closed out its final homestand of 2021 with Miami’s final 10 points to clinch the seven-point victory.

Next up: On a second leg of a back-to-back, the Heat tip-off a seven-game West Coast trip against the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. EST.

If you want to see more of Matt’s Heat takes and more incessant sports-centric tweets, follow him on Twitter @mph_824_.