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Jimmy Butler steps up late as Heat hold off Warriors, Stephen Curry 116-109 – Twin Cities

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The threes were flowing, the ball was moving, the depth of contribution was significant.

So, yes, another Golden State Warriors game.

Only in this case it was the opposition inflicting the damage, with the Miami Heat snapping a two-game losing streak with a 116-109 victory Tuesday night over Stephen Curry & Co.

“Having the champs in town,” Heat guard Kyle Lowry said, “you have to be better or you’ll be embarrassed.”

On a night they fell behind by 10 in the third quarter after losing Tyler Herro for the night in the second period with an eye contusion, the Heat showed the resolve that had been lacking in the 2-5 record they carried into the night.

This time, with Jimmy Butler stepping up with a pair of key late baskets, one that he turned into a three-point play, there finally was a sigh of relief amid these uneven first two weeks of the season.

“It’s always good to win, but we still had some mishaps on the defensive end,” Butler said. “But I still think we’ve got a long way to go. But this is a start.”

Butler filled the boxscore for Heat with 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds. The Heat also got 24 points from Max Strus, 19 from Bam Adebayo, 17 from Duncan Robinson and 12 from Kyle Lowry.

“I feel like we did a better job of competing on both ends,” Adebayo said.

Curry closed with 23 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, supported by 21 points from Andrew Wiggins and 19 from Klay Thompson.

“Good to get this win,” Adebayo said. “We just build off this one.”

Five Degrees of Heat from Tuesday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 58-46 at halftime, went down 10 in the third, then clawed back within three before going into the fourth quarter down 94-86.

But 3-pointers by Lowry and Strus got the Heat within one less than a minute into the fourth, with a transition 3-pointer by Robinson tying it 100-100 with 7:07 remaining.

It eventually got to 109-109 with two minutes to play, before Butler was fouled on a driving layup, converting the three-point play with 1:48 left for a 112-109 Heat lead.

Then, with 1:39 left, Butler was called for a three-shot foul on a Curry 3-point attempt. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra challenged and was successful, giving the Heat possession up three.

Missed 3-pointers by the Heat’s Gabe Vincent and Warriors’ Thompson followed, as did an errant running jumper by Vincent.

That left Golden State with the ball down three with 38.7 seconds to play.

A Thompson missed 3-pointer again followed, putting the Heat in possession with 30 seconds to play.

That’s when Butler again stepped up, a 15-foot leaning jumper giving the Heat a 114-109 lead with 9.5 seconds left.

“The last one,” Spoelstra said., “that’s just Jimmy making something out of nothing. That’s just everyone giving him space.”

Butler said it was the same moves he practices in his pregame one-on-one sessions with 42-year-old team captain Udonis Haslem.

“I do both of ‘em, damn near every day one-on-one,” Butler said.

2. Herro out: The Heat lost Herro midway through the second quarter, when a collision with the Warriors’ Moses Moody left him with a left-eye contusion.

Herro needed assistance off the court.

“Like, I couldn’t see,” he said, hiding his black eye behind sunglasses in the locker room. “It’s better now.”

He was replaced by Max Strus in the Heat’s lineup at the start of the second half.

Herro closed with two points on 1-of-6 shooting. He was coming off a season-high 34-point performance Saturday in Sacramento.

The concern now is the quick turnaround, with the Heat hosting the Kings on Wednesday night.

“He looked better now than when he was walking off the court,” Spoelstra said after the game of Herro. “That puffed up immediately. He couldn’t see out of that eye. He was using the halftime to see if he could get back out there. And the trainers decided, ‘Let’s not jump the gun this early in the season.’ “

Herro sidestepped a question about goggles, but said, “You know, I got a lot of sunglasses. So if they let me wear ‘em in the game, I’m good.”

3. Stepping out: Butler again showed increased confidence and proficiency from the 3-point line, closing the first half with a pair of conversions on three attempts from beyond the arc.

Butler entered 7 of 16 on 3-pointers, a team-best .438 beyond Dewayne Dedmon’s 1 of 2.

This time, the Heat finally got to their 3-pointer game, the attempts up and spread out across the board, from Strus to Robinson to Lowry to Butler, and, yes, even to Dedmon.

The Heat closed 16 of 42 from beyond the arc.

“I should have made three more of them, honestly,” Butler said.

4. Bench boost: Outplayed initially by the Warriors’ starters, the Heat got early bench boosts from Robinson and Dedmon.

Robinson, who did not play in the second half Saturday in Sacramento, had a pair of early 3-pointers and also drew a first-quarter charge.

Dedmon, who had missed the previous two games due to illness and foot pain, had four points and four rebounds in his first four minutes.

“Duncan was creating so many positive triggers for us offensively,” Spoelstra said. “Dedmon gave us some really good minutes. I just felt like he had a live body tonight. I think those extra days helped him.”

Spoelstra also noted Vincent’s eight rebounds.

“The entire bench,” Spoelstra said, “was very inspirational.”

5. Still the one: Curry, as he was when the teams met last week at Chase Center, was there when needed for the Warriors, closing with his 10th regular-season career triple-double.

Curry’s first 3-pointer extended his NBA-record streak to 197 consecutive games and he kept filling the boxscore from there.

It was Curry’s second double-double of the season, and first with points and assists.

Curry had 33 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in Golden State’s 123-110 victory over the Heat last Thursday.

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