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Jimmy Butler takes over as the Heat win in Detroit 118-105
Butler scores 18 4Q points and finishes with a near 30 point triple double.
Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat come away with the double digit victory against the Pistons on the road, 118-105. Miami improves to 42-37 and have clinched the South East division title. They are now 5 games above .500 and also clinch a winning record for the season. This game wasn’t an easy one, as the Heat had the early double digit lead but saw that lead shrink yet again following halftime.
The Pistons had the lead at one point in the 4th quarter until Butler flipped his clutch switch on and went to work. He was simply dominant and just too much to handle down the stretch for this young Pistons team who was missing more than half their regular rotation guys.
Butler went into halftime with just 2 points, and although he was creating offense for his teammates, grabbing boards and playing good defense, he wasn’t shooting the ball. It’s not even that he was struggling to score because his shot efficiency for the game was elite. It was just a lack of aggression offensively. Luckily, his teammates and bench produced, including Gabe Vincent who had 5 three pointers in the first half. Vincent finished with 6 for the game.
Max Strus, the new small ball starting 4, knocked down a couple three balls as well. Kevin Love played solid as the back up center in 17 bench minutes. With Cody Zeller being available and coach Spoelstra tightening up the rotation for the playoffs it left Zeller being one of the odd men out. Spo went 8 men deep, which he so often does close to playoffs and during it. The starting group included Vincent, Tyler Herro, Butler, Strus and Bam Adebayo to go with Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin and Love off the bench.
It was a very encouraging rotation to watch as each and every player contributed and had their moments during this game. Even Lowry had 11 points including 2 4Q three’s and 5 assists. Besides Butler, the remaining core of Herro and Adebayo both had good games too. They both finished with 18 points and although Herro could’ve shot the ball a little better efficiency wise he wound up with another bucket in the clutch.
The way he can turn that switch on when it matters most like Buter does, can really help this team heading into the postseason. It will always be helpful to have two trustworthy options to get the team a big time bucket. Even Adebayo is capable of that, making this Heat squad very dangerous.
Miami has now won 2 in a row while the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves. They are just 1 game behind Brooklyn for the 6th seed with Brooklyn owning the tiebreaker. That final 6th playoff spot is still in reach, and the Heat will get another chance to keep that alive Thursday with a big matchup in Philly against the 76ers.