With 2:23 left in the Miami Heat’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Caleb Martin nailed a 3-pointer to pull Miami within 107-106. The Heat forced a 24-second violation on the other end of the floor, thanks in part to a Jimmy Butler deflection. Kyle Lowry then made a 3, giving Miami their first lead since the beginning of the third quarter.
The lead see-sawed a couple times after that, but Bam Adebayo sunk two free throws to put Miami up 113-112 with 35 seconds left. And on the Suns’ ensuing possession, Butler blocked a 14-foot Devin Booker pull-up with six seconds left. The Heat held on to win their third straight game and improve to 7-7 on the season.
This victory was impressive, especially for a team that has had its share of late-game struggles. The Suns held a 13-point lead with 8:03 left in the game before a furious Heat rally got Miami back in the game. Adebayo made two and-ones during this 12-0 run.
The Heat’s 2017 first-round pick scored a season-high 30 points, 15 of which came in the fourth quarter. He shot 12-of-14 from the foul line, grabbed 10 rebounds and offered his usual stalwart defense. A key basket from Adebayo came on a put-back with 58.4 seconds left.
Tyler Herro sat out a fourth consecutive game tonight, so Adebayo’s dominance was welcome and appreciated.
Aside from Adebayo, the Heat had a balanced scoring load. Butler finished with 16 points, somewhat low for him, but grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out seven assists. And even aside from his clutch block, Butler took on the assignment of defending Booker. Sometimes, Booker hit a tough shot. But Butler did his job on both ends of the floor.
Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry each scored 15 points. Martin, who is not known as a 3-point shooter, made five 3-pointers. And Lowry came out aggressive, looked for his shot and dished out six assists.
The Heat’s three bench players — Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson and Dewayne Dedmon — each knocked down two 3s. Dedmon’s two 3s came at the end of the third quarter and helped Miami cut into a Phoenix lead. With Herro out, Erik Spoelstra has stuck to an eight-man rotation — even if it means playing Lowry 39 minutes in mid-November. This win felt good, but the bench still looks thin.
Miami will next go on the road, visiting the Toronto Raptors for a Wednesday night game.