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Butler delivers in fourth to push Heat past Pacers, 87-82

Butler made three straight baskets in the fourth quarter.

Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Miami Heat clung to a 74-73 lead with four minutes left in the fourth quarter (yes, you read that correctly) of their road game at the Indiana Pacers. Jimmy Butler found an open Kyle Lowry from the corner for a 3. It went in.

The Pacers called a timeout, and Buddy Hield made a long two on their subsequent possession. Butler made an and-one on the other end of the floor. He then made a reverse layup over Myles Turner. And for good measure, he made a 10-foot jumper with 2:26 left to put Miami up 84-75.

The Heat held on 87-82 — we saw two costly, consecutive turnovers and three missed clutch free throws from Bam Adebayo and Butler — and bounced back from an embarrassing home loss to the San Antonio Spurs. It was ugly — the Heat shot just 39 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3. But they got the win.

Adebayo led Miami with 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the field and 17 rebounds. It was great to see the Heat’s 2017 first-round pick make some impressive moves against Turner, who is a good defensive player in his own right. Adebayo’s improved offensive repertoire has stood out as a bright spot in this otherwise dreary season.

Butler was right behind with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field, including those key plays in crunch time — the assist to Lowry and the three straight baskets. Butler also collected seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. Moreover, Erik Spoelstra was able to rest Butler more than usual this season, playing him just shy of 34 minutes.

No one else on the Heat scored in double figures. Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry combined to shoot 6-for-21 from the field. Max Strus shot 3-of-12 from the field, and all of his shots came from 3-point range. It was enough for Butler and Adebayo to carry the load against an Indiana team that also struggled offensively, but it won’t be enough on most nights.

Victor Oladipo played just shy of 19 minutes — Gabe Vincent remained out — and finished with five points and four assists against his former team. He made some nice defensive plays, like this strip of Hield late in the first quarter that led to a Lowry breakaway layup.

While the solid defensive from Oladipo is more than welcome, the Heat desperately need someone to lead their bench unit in scoring. It should be on Oladipo to do that when Butler is on the bench. Spoelstra played Herro with a unit of other reserves tonight, but Herro didn’t recreate his scoring from his Sixth Man of the Year campaign.

The Heat will be off tomorrow before visiting the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday at 8 p.m.