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Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo combined for 50 points as the host Miami Heat defeated the Houston Rockets 120-113 on Monday night (Tuesday, January 9, Manila time).
Adebayo scored 22 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds as Miami returned home after a five-game road trip. Herro added 28 points on 10-for-20 shooting. It was a bounce-back game for Herro, who shot 4-for-17 in his previous game at Phoenix on Friday.
Miami’s Duncan Robinson added 14 points and a career-high-tying seven assists off the bench.
Houston got a game-high 32 points and seven assists from Fred VanVleet. Teammate Alperen Sengun added 22 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
The game featured a starting point guard matchup of Miami’s Kyle Lowry and VanVleet, former Toronto Raptors teammates. That battle became a mismatch, as Lowry scored just six points before leaving the game due to a left hand sprain with 8:18 left in the third quarter.
In addition, Heat star Jimmy Butler missed his fourth straight game due to a foot injury. He has missed eight of Miami’s past nine games. Caleb Martin missed his sixth straight game for Miami due to an ankle injury.
Given those absences, Nikola Jovic made his 13th career start and Jaime Jaquez Jr., a rookie, made his 12th start. Jaquez had 14 points and Jovic added six points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Miami, which shot an even 50 percent (41-for-82) from the floor Monday, led 34-27 at the end of the first quarter. Houston stayed closed due to VanVleet’s 10 points.
Houston closed out the first half on an 8-0 run as the Rockets tied the score 59-59 at intermission. VanVleet led all first-half scorers with 16 points, and Houston went 10-for-20 on 3-pointers while Miami shot 7-for-17.
Adebayo, who had just four points in a three-foul first half, scored eight in the third quarter as Miami took control, 91-82. Herro also had a productive third with 10 points. Houston shot just 2-for-9 from deep in the period.
Miami stretched its lead to 15 points just over three minutes into the fourth quarter. Houston cut its deficit to 112-106 on a Sengun dunk with 3:08 left before Miami held on for the win.
In an oddity, Miami finished the night in a five-way tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. All five teams have 21-15 records. – Rappler.com