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Jimmy Butler scored 12 of his team-high 33 points in the fourth quarter to help rally the Miami Heat past the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers, 119-115, Friday night (Saturday, March 11, Manila time).
Butler shot 12 of 16 from the field while Tyler Herro drained 5 of 7 from 3-point range and finished with 25 points for Miami, which overcame a 14-point third-quarter deficit to earn a split of the two-game series in South Florida.
Donovan Mitchell finished with 42 points in 42 minutes for his ninth game of at least 40 points this season.
Mitchell hit the first of two free throws with 5.6 seconds left to draw Cleveland within two, 117-115. Mitchell intentionally missed the second and Butler knocked down two free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining. Mitchell’s 26-foot 3-point attempt was long off the back of the rim as time expired.
Adding to Cleveland’s pain was the loss of big man Jarrett Allen with just under four minutes remaining. Allen was struck in the face as Adebayo attempted to swat the ball off the rim. Allen held a towel to his eyes as he was escorted to the locker room.
Mitchell almost single-handedly kept the Cavaliers in the game in the first half. Mitchell hit 6 of 8 shots from beyond the arc and 9 of 12 overall from the field, leading Cleveland with 25 points.
Mitchell’s step-back straightaway trey with 2.8 seconds left in the second quarter gave Cleveland its biggest lead of the first half, 59-50, heading into halftime.
Ricky Rubio connected on a corner 3-pointer with 4:18 left in the third to cap a 9-0 run, putting Cleveland ahead, 81-67, their biggest lead.
Herro’s spot-up trey on the fast break with 8:44 left in the fourth gave Miami its first lead since early in the second quarter. Two Adebayo free throws 15 seconds later capped a 10-0 run and put Miami ahead, 95-91.
Bam Adebayo finished with 19 points and has scored in double figures in all 63 of his games played this season. Dating back to last season, Adebayo’s streak is now 79 games, breaking a tie with Dwyane Wade for fourth longest in Miami history.
Darius Garland, who led Cleveland with 25 points in a 104-100 win over the Heat Wednesday, missed Friday’s game with a thigh contusion. – Rappler.com