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Heat Rally Late to Defeat Pistons 118-105, Butler Scores 18 in Fourth Quarter



Jimmy Butler | Photo Credit:

The Miami Heat kept their chances of escaping the Play-In tournament alive, after they took down the Detroit Pistons 118-105 on Tuesday evening, but not before the Pistons would give the Heat a challenge. The Pistons happen to be the NBA’s worst team, they lost their 10th straight and fell to 1-21 in their last 22 games.

Jimmy Butler scored 18 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and Gabe Vincent scored 22 points for the Heat in addition to Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro bucketing 18 apiece.

“We had a lot of guys contribute to this win, but Jimmy did what closers do. We just need to get him the ball and we trust that he’s going to make the right decisions… that’s what he does,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Miami had sprinted out to a lead as large as 17 points in the second quarter, but the Pistons narrowed that deficit to 59-52 at halftime. Gabe Vincent had 17 points for the Heat while Jaden Ivey scored 15 for the Pistons during the first half.

“Any time you get a win on the road, it feels good,” Vincent said.

The Heat led 80-79 at the start of the fourth quarter, but they had a tough time pulling away from the Pistons. Back-to-back three-pointers from Cory Joseph would push Detroit ahead 97-94 with just under seven minutes remaining, but Jimmy Butler’s floater would give way to a one-point Miami lead with 4:35 remaining.

Erik Spoelstra’s defense would start swarming Jaden Ivey, and Detroit could not adapt down the final stretch.

“Did you see what he was doing to us before we started blitzing him? He’s got so much speed and tonight he was hitting his threes and his mid-range shots, which makes him even tougher. He’s a special young talent,” Spoelstra said.

Butler would extend Miami’s lead to 107-99 from the free throw line, which would result in a three-point play with 2:47 left in regulation, just after Ivey hit a difficult shot off the backboard.

“He got to his right hand, and that’s what the coaches warned us about before the game,” Ivey said.

Jaden Ivey would score 30 points on 15 shots for Detroit, and his rookie peer in Jalen Duren would record a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

“I’ve just been constantly working on my 3-point shot, I was getting down on myself when I wasn’t making them earlier in the year, but that’s changed,” said Ivey.

The Heat have three games remaining on their regular season slate (76ers, Wizards and Magic) and are hoping to close the gap with the sixth-seed Brooklyn Nets, who hold a one-game lead over Miami in the Eastern Conference standings before the upcoming NBA Playoffs.



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