On a night where the Miami Heat set a single-game NBA record for most free-throws made without a single miss, Jimmy Butler’s game-winning three-point play — capped by his 23rd made free-throw of the game — with under 12.9 seconds left punctuated the Heat’s 112-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
Butler’s 23rd made free-throw was Miami’s 40th as a team. He led all scorers with 35 points on 17 shots with seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks — but his sixth-and-final bucket coming after a pump-fake mere feet from the rim made his night all the more fitting.
Miami was without Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin on the evening, so it required plenty of contributions outside of Butler.
Max Strus recorded 22 points with seven boards on 8-of-19 shooting with four 3s; Victor Oladipo had 19 points, four rebounds with a pair of steals on 7-of-16 shooting; Jamal Cain had 12 points on 3-of-6 shooting with five boards and three assists; Gabe Vincent had an inefficient 12 points, but had four rebounds, four assists and one steal.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting, including four boards, four assists and three steals. Josh Giddey posted his second triple-double of the season — totaling 19 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. Kenrich Williams added 13 points; Jalen Williams had 12 points with five dimes while Luguentz Dort had 11 points with nine rebounds.
Miami was fortunate it got to the charity stripe 40 times against a foul-happy Thunder squad, because it shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and 30.3 percent from 3-point range.
It was more efficient in the first half, jumping out to a quick 13-6 lead. Miami led by five after one before the advantage got to as big as 11 with over a minute left in the first half. Seven straight from Gilgeous-Alexander cut the lead to five before a pair of Butler free-throws gave Miami a seven-point halftime lead.
It got to the line 22 times in the first 24 minutes, with Butler attempting 14 of them alone (he went 2-5 from the floor).
Oklahoma City, the league’s best third-quarter squad, went up three with 1:36 left in the period before four straight Butler made free-throws put Miami ahead one — 89-88 — heading into the final frame (you see a theme here?).
And it was the Heat’s resiliancy that paid dividends in the end. A 11-2 Thunder run gave them a 109-104 lead with 1:57 to go. Butler cut it to five before Aaron Wiggins’ two-handed slam made it 111-106. But a Victor Oladipo pull-up triple followed by an Oladipo steal and Butler and-one finish was the eventual difference-maker to cap off a record-breaking performance.
P.S. Miami might’ve also broken another single-game record in massage guns smacked onto a court mid-game with one. What a night!
Dedmon threw a massage gun on the court after some heated words with Spo pic.twitter.com/yjJYB599HY— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 11, 2023