NBA regular season

Jimmy Butler helps Heat escape Sixers in thriller

Jimmy Butler helps Heat escape Sixers in thriller

FLAME ON. Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) and Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) battle for a loose ball during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Jimmy Butler sinks the game-winning layup and free throw to help the Miami Heat escape his old team Philadelphia 76ers with a two-point win

Jimmy Butler had 23 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals to lift the Miami Heat past the host Philadelphia 76ers 101-99 on Monday (Tuesday, February 28, Manila time).

Butler hit a spinning reverse layup with 1:28 remaining for a 100-99 advantage, a hoop that proved to be the game-winner.

Butler also made 1 of 2 free throws with 8.8 seconds left, and Philadelphia’s James Harden missed a 3-point attempt from the top of the key at the buzzer.

Gabe Vincent scored 14 points, Max Strus and Bam Adebayo added 13 apiece and Victor Oladipo had 11 for the Heat, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 27 points and 12 rebounds, Tyrese Maxey added 23 points before fouling out and Harden had 20 points and 12 assists.

Harden’s two free throws put the Sixers ahead 99-98 with 1:41 to go, but the Sixers went scoreless the rest of the way.

Philadelphia took its second straight loss following a five-game winning streak.

When Strus dropped in two free throws with 7:10 left, the Heat went ahead 94-83.

De’Anthony Melton completed a difficult three-point play to get the 76ers within 95-93 with 5:22 remaining. Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris headed to the locker room after that sequence with an undisclosed injury, but he soon returned to the bench.

The Heat went ahead 50-40 when Caleb Martin threw down a dunk with 3:10 left in the first half.

The Sixers responded with an 8-0 run capped by P.J. Tucker’s 3-pointer from the corner, but the Heat closed on an 8-2 spurt and led 58-50 at halftime.

Butler paced the Heat with 13 first-half points, and Miami grabbed 10 offensive rebounds before the break.

Embiid anchored the Sixers with 14 points prior to halftime, but Harris went scoreless in 16 minutes.

The Sixers closed within 70-68 with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter when Maxey exploded on the fastbreak and completed a nifty reverse layup.

Maxey scored 14 points in the third and the Sixers trailed 84-80 at the end of the quarter. He landed awkwardly on his left ankle while being guarded by Oladipo on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer, but he remained in the game to open the fourth quarter. –

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