HEAT Hang On To Beat Pistons

Jimmy Butler
Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
by Joe Beguiristain
HEAT.com

Although the HEAT nearly gave up a double-digit lead, they made enough plays late and defeated the Pistons 117-108 Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Let’s get into how Miami remained undefeated at home.

1. Butler Does It All

From the start, Jimmy Butler had his fingerprints all over this one.

Not only did he play hard-nosed defense on Luke Kennard, but he also dished out some fantastic passes, like this lob to Bam Adebayo late in the second quarter:

And while he set up his teammates very well all evening, he helped put the Pistons away with a team-high 11 points in the fourth, including this backdoor cut and finish with contact:

Otherwise in the final period, Butler attacked the basket with reckless abandon and took advantage from the line as usual.

Simply put, Jimmy was Jimmy.

When it was all said and done, Butler amassed a team-high 20 points (tied with Kendrick Nunn) on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 8-of-11 from the charity stripe, a game and season-high 13 assists (one off his career high), three rebounds, a team-high two steals (also tied with Nunn), a plus-nine rating and no turnovers.

2. Dragić Keeps Up Strong Play

Thanks to a bevy of catch-and-shoot treys in the second quarter, Goran Dragić helped Miami grab a stranglehold on the game early on.

In fact, the Dragon scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the period, with this three showing just how good the HEAT’s ball movement was:

That wasn’t all, though, as Dragić continued to pick apart Detroit’s defense in the third and came through with some wise finishes at the rim.

In total, the Slovenian had 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting, six assists and one rebound.

3. Nunn Picks It Up Late

With the Pistons threatening to get back in the game in the third quarter, Nunn answered the call with 11 points in the period.

And even though that was rather important, this trey in the fourth was perhaps his biggest of the night:

Nunn ended up with a team-high 20 points, five assists, three rebounds and a team-high two steals.

Other Takeaways:

-While Adebayo did damage in the paint as usual, he also drilled these two jumpers:

Smooth.

Adebayo finished with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting, a game-high 14 boards and two assists.

-Miami recorded 34 assists on 41 made field goals, but few possessions were as impressive as this one late in the second quarter that ended with a Meyers Leonard jam over Andre Drummond:

In all, Leonard had four points on 2-of-2 shooting, five rebounds and an assist.

-Chris Silva made an immediate impact in the first quarter with Adebayo in some foul trouble.

Need proof?

Watch this:

A little later in the second quarter, Silva also drew a charge on Drummond.

Culture.

The 23-year-old rookie ended the night with a career-high eight points (tied) on 3-of-5 shooting, a career-high nine rebounds, a career-high two assists and a block.

-Udonis Haslem made his season debut and accumulated two points and two boards.

Game Notes:

-Justise Winslow (Concussion), James Johnson (Illness) and Dion Waiters (Team Suspension) were inactive.

-Tyler Herro (Left Ankle Sprain), Derrick Jones Jr. (Left Hip Strain) and KZ Okpala (Left Achilles Strain) were active scratches.

Looking Ahead:

-Up next for the HEAT are the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Thursday at 6PM. From there, Miami will return home and prep for its matchup with the Pelicans on Saturday at 8PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.

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