Butler scores 29 as Heat beat Magic for 4th straight win

·3 min read

ORLANDO, Fla. — Jimmy Butler scored 29 points and Tyler Herro added 22 off the bench as the Miami Heat rallied in the fourth quarter and beat the Orlando Magic 102-97 on Sunday night.

The Heat won their fourth straight game and for the 10th time in 11 games. Miami trailed by as many as six points in the second half and faced a four-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter. The Heat are 3-12 when trailing after three periods.

Butler finished with nine assists, seven rebounds and five steals in 36 minutes. His steal of a Michael Carter-Williams pass and subsequent layup with four seconds remaining sealed the win.

The teams traded the lead five times in the fourth period before the Heat pulled away in the final three minutes behind their defence and Butler’s scoring. A 7-0 run — started by a Butler jumper and a Herro 3 — gave Miami a 100-94 lead. Orlando missed five straight shots and went three minutes without a point.

All-Star centre Nikola Vucevic scored 17 of his 38 points in the third quarter for Orlando, which lost its eighth straight. The Magic, who are 1-2 this season against the rival Heat, haven’t won since Feb. 21. Vucevic finished with 10 rebounds for his 26th double-double.

Magic guard Terrence Ross returned from a two-game absence and scored 20 of his 31 points in the second half. The guard made 8 of 13 3-points shots, but his 28-footer that could have tied the game with 16 seconds left fell well short.

Miami's Kelly Olynyk had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Duncan Robinson chipped in 14 points, with four 3-pointers. The Heat won despite shooting 41.6% from the floor.

EUPHORIC FOR EWING

Magic coach Steve Clifford was a part of a couple of group text chats that included Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy, Rockets coach Stephen Silas, ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy and others who were rooting for former NBA star and assistant coach Patrick Ewing as his Georgetown Hoyas went on to win the Big East championship on Saturday. Ewing was on coaching staffs with Clifford in Houston, Orlando and Charlotte for 15 years.

“He’s one of my closest friends and this will give you and idea — (Ewing) texts with my parents and they will tell you he’s an incredible person,” said Clifford, who noted that he also shared text messages with Charlotte owner Michael Jordan on Saturday while the two were rooting for Ewing’s Hoyas. “He attacked becoming a terrific coach the same way he attacked becoming a terrific player. … He deserves all of this because he’s made himself into a terrific coach.”

TIP INS

Heat: Herro played as a reserve despite being bothered by a shoulder strain that occurred some point in the previous two games, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. … The 6-7 Butler jumped centre against the 7-foot Vucevic to open the game and won the tip. … Miami missed its first six 3-point shots, but then made seven of the next 12 attempts.

Magic: Clifford said that Evan Fournier (groin strain), Aaron Gordon (ankle sprain) and James Ennis III (sore calf) “weren’t close for today.” … Terrence Ross returned after missing the past two games with a sore left knee. … Orlando had more turnovers (seven) than field goals (six) in the first quarter. … GM Anthony Parker and head coach Stan Heath of the G League champion Lakeland Magic attended Sunday’s game.

UP NEXT

Heat: Host Cleveland on Tuesday.

Magic: Play at New York on Thursday.

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John Denton, The Associated Press