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Jimmy Butler shines as Miami Heat push NBA win streak to seven games

Posted on November 17, 2023

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra hailed a team effort as star man Jimmy Butler scored 36 points to help beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-115 at home on Nov 16, pushing their National Basketball Association (NBA) winning streak to seven games.

The Heat, with Tyler Herro still sidelined by injury, missed 10 of their first 11 shots, but the Nets could not build a lead of more than six points in the first quarter.

By half-time Miami were up 60-52, and Butler scored 18 in the third quarter as the Heat pushed their lead to double digits, never trailing in the second half.

“We’re getting a little more organised, more comfortable,” Spoelstra said, despite his side’s slow start.

“And that allows you to be more confident.

“It’s not just Jimmy, you have to do it collectively, you have to be intentional on what you’re trying to get to. We need to get into proper spacing and quicker. It’s not just switches from Jimmy, it’s the other switches I think we are also operating a bit more efficiently.”

Butler connected on 12 of 19 shots from the field and added five rebounds with three assists and three blocked shots.

Duncan Robinson scored 26 points for Miami and Bam Adebayo chipped in 20.

Miami (8-4) have climbed to third place in the Eastern Conference, behind leaders the Boston Celtics (9-2) and the Philadelphia 76ers (8-3).

“Whatever it takes to win,” Butler said. “I think we did a good job in the second half of guarding. I was very, very, very proud of us for that.

“I don’t think we rebounded as well in the fourth quarter, but overall we played some great basketball.”

Mikal Bridges and Lonnie Walker IV scored 23 points apiece for the Nets, as coach Jacque Vaughn lamented how his side failed to take advantage of the Heat’s poor first quarter.

“Their little run going into half-time... you can’t have that momentum shift going into half-time,” he said.

“That’s something that we need to learn about, finishing the half and having the momentum going in your favour.”

In the only other game on Nov 16, Isaiah Joe hit seven consecutive three-pointers as part of a long-distance shooting barrage that lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 128-109 road victory over the short-handed Golden State Warriors.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander chipped in with three three-pointers as part of a team-high 24 points, and Josh Giddey connected on all three of his attempts from deep on a night when the Thunder, winning for the fifth time in their last six games, shot 59.4 per cent from beyond the arc, making 19 of 32.

Missing the league’s top three-point shooter, the injured Stephen Curry, the Warriors could not keep pace en route to their fifth straight loss, countering with just 14 threes despite getting nine more attempts.

Golden State, who were also without Draymond Green on the first night of his five-game suspension, got no closer than eight in the final period.

Joe’s perfect seven three-pointers matched his single-game mark that he set three times previously, although he needed 10 attempts once and 12 twice on those occasions.

Jonathan Kuminga led Golden State with 21 points, while Chris Paul had 15, Brandin Podziemski 13, and Dario Saric, Andrew Wiggins and Moses Moody 12 apiece.

In other news, Johnny Green, an All-Star forward for the New York Knicks in the 1960s who gained acclaim for his leaping ability and rebounding prowess through 14 NBA seasons, died on Nov 16 in Huntington, New York. He was 89.

His death, at a hospital, was confirmed by his son Johnny Jr., who said his father had had heart and kidney problems for about a year.