Hours after the NBA trade deadline passed without any activity from the No. 1 team in the East, Miami closed out their six game road trip with their fourth straight victory in double-figures despite the absence of Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin.
New Orleans’ height created some interesting big main pairings from Spoelstra, first with Adebayo playing alongside Dewayne Dedmon and then Omer Yurtseven. Freshly-traded CJ McCollum made his Pelicans debut and was promptly placed in their starting lineup. He had his moments where his talent shined through as he got acclimated to the team, but it was undrafted rookie Jose Alvarado who almost single-handedly kept them within striking distance in the second half by scoring all 17 points after halftime — including 11 in the fourth quarter alone.
Ultimately Miami’s Big 3 were too much to overcome down the stretch both on offense and defense. Lowry was in complete control with the ball, the team defense led by Bam forced turnovers, and then Butler checked into the game halfway through the final quarter and kept padding the lead with clutch scoring.
It was a team effort for each and every play when it mattered, such as this timely basket from Butler — which wouldn’t have been possible without a monster offensive rebound from Adebayo to give the Heat another chance to hold off the Pelicans.
Miami scored the final eight points in the last three minutes to get their biggest lead of the game, making it appear as if they cruised to victory when in reality they had to make winning plays in a tough environment.
Lowry finished with 14 points on 5-9 shooting, 11 rebounds and 11 assists as well as four steals — to the delight of Butler.
When Jimmy found out Kyle got a triple double pic.twitter.com/q6ei9Kn4r4— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 11, 2022
Duncan Robinson and Dedmon, who was the first reserve off the bench in place of Herro, also finished in double-digit scoring to help with the team’s balanced attack. Butler went a perfect 11-11 from the free throw line and also grabbed eight rebounds and had four steals — combing with Lowry and Adebayo for 11 of the team’s 12 total steals.
Not only do they complete their road trip with four straight wins after a pair of disappointing losses, Miami turns the page this season to go from the team who has played the most road games to looking forward to playing 17 of their last 26 games at home with the All-Star break on the horizon. They are now a season-best 16 games above .500.
The Heat play the new-look Brooklyn Nets back home on Saturday at 8:00pm.