HEAT Pull Away Late, Defeat Suns 124-108

Jimmy Butler
Photo Credit: Barry Gossage
by Joe Beguiristain
HEAT.com

Thanks to a remarkable shooting display, the HEAT defeated the Suns 124-108 Thursday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

And while pretty much everyone contributed in the win, Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragić shined the brightest.

Let’s see what they did.

1. Historic Start For Butler

Simply put, Butler started off like a man possessed and set career highs for points in a first quarter (18) and points in a first half (30). Yes, you read that right.

As such, Butler became the first HEAT player to score 30-plus in a first half since LeBron James on March 18, 2014.

So, in other words, Butler couldn’t be stopped. From tough takes to the rack (resulting in finishes or free throws) to smooth treys, the 30-year-old vet got the job done one way or another.

I mean, just look at this gritty sequence late in the second quarter where he lost his sneaker in the process of getting a bucket:

What. Effort.

As the game progressed, Butler took advantage of double teams and found his teammates with some great passes.

When it was all said and done, the 6-foot-7 forward tallied a season-high 34 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe, five rebounds and four assists.

2. Dragić Breathes Fire After Halftime

With the Suns zeroing in on Butler in the second half, Dragić took over the reins and absolutely balled out.

How so?

Well, he scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting after halftime thanks to a bevy of threes, including this one in the fourth courtesy of Kelly Olynyk:

Yeah, his reaction says it all.

In total, Dragić tied a season-high with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-7 from deep, to go along with six rebounds, four assists and a plus-10 rating.

3. Herro Answers The Challenge

Per usual, Tyler Herro moved very well off the ball, showed fantastic footwork and knocked down shots from the perimeter.

That said, his most impressive play of the night came late in the fourth quarter when he picked Devin Booker’s pocket and scored on the other end:

Herro ended up with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, two rebounds, two assists, that steal above and a plus-14 rating.

Other Takeaways:

-Once again, Bam Adebayo emptied the tank and showed maximum effort on both ends of the floor.

And although he finished plays inside, hit a mid-range jumper and initiated offense often from the top of the key, his biggest contribution came on defense.

In all, Adebayo accumulated 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, a team-high 10 rebounds, a team-high six assists, a game and career-high five steals and a block.

-Duncan Robinson had some great segments of defense and finished with six points, six boards, one assist, one steal, this block…

…and a game-high plus-29 rating.

Game Notes:

-Derrick Jones Jr. suffered a left hip strain and did not play in the second half.

-Justise Winslow (Concussion), Daryl Macon (G League - Two-Way) and KZ Okpala (Left Achilles Strain) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will get right back to it Friday night at 10:30 PM against the Lakers. Miami will then return home to prepare for its matchup with the Pistons on Tuesday at 7:30PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.

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