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Butler scores 36, Heat get hot late to top Pacers 142-132 and snap a 3-game slide

MIAMI (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 24 of his 36 points in the second half, and the Miami Heat overcame a career-high 44 points from Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton to beat the Pacers 142-132 on Thursday night.

Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 24 for the Heat, who trailed by 13 early and didn’t take the lead for the first time until early in the fourth. Butler added 10 rebounds, Josh Richardson scored 19 points and Duncan Robinson added 16 for Miami, which snapped a three-game slide.

The Heat used a 28-6 run in the fourth to take control in the opener of a two-game series. They host the Pacers again Saturday.

Haliburton scored 28 points in the first half for the Pacers, who had 73 points at intermission — then gave up 78 in the second half. Haliburton also had 10 assists, the NBA's first game of at least 44 points and that many assists since Donovan Mitchell's 71-point, 11-assist night for Cleveland on Jan. 2.

Obi Toppin scored 25 for the Pacers, who trailed by as many as 16 in the fourth before making a late run. Bruce Brown scored 15 and Buddy Hield had 12, though shot 2 for 11 from 3-point range.

It was the 17th instance all-time, including playoffs, that a Miami team allowed at least 73 points by halftime. The Heat had been 0-16 in such games.

The Pacers are averaging 127.0 points, slightly ahead of Denver’s NBA-record average of 126.5 set in 1981-82. But they allowed Miami to make a staggering 15 of its final 17 shots.

The Heat lost All-Star center Bam Adebayo in the second quarter after a bruised left hip was aggravated; Adebayo has been dealing with that problem for several days and missed a game last week because of that hip.

And yet, without a defensive player of the year candidate, Miami clamped down in the final two quarters.

The Pacers started even faster than usual; they had a season-high 13 points after three minutes to set the tone. They led by as many as 13 in the opening quarter — Miami’s third consecutive game facing at least a 12-point deficit in the first quarter, the longest such Heat streak since February 2015.

Haliburton was rolling from the outset, scoring 13 in the first quarter and then 15 more in the second — those all coming in a span of 4:04. It sparked the Pacers to a 73-64 halftime lead, the fifth time this season Indiana had reached the 70-point mark by the break. The Pacers had been 4-0 in such games this season.

Miami paid tribute to longtime Pacers media relations director David Benner, who died earlier this year. A seat was left in Benner's honor courtside, with a bouquet of yellow flowers — the Pacers' primary color.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press