Bucks make 25 3s, beat Heat 138-122 without Antetokounmpo
Brook Lopez scored 25 points, Jrue Holiday added 24 and the hot-shooting Milwaukee Bucks withstood Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence while trouncing the Miami Heat 138-122, tying their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at a game apiece.
Mikal Bridges scores career-high 45, Nets beat Heat 116-105
Mikal Bridges scored a career-high 45 points, including 15 in a row for Brooklyn to break open a game that had been close for 3 1/2 quarters, and the Nets beat the Miami Heat 116-105 on in the final game for both teams before the All-Star break.
Butler scores 29 as Heat beat Magic for 4th straight win
ORLANDO, Fla. – Jimmy Butler started Sunday night’s game against Orlando by winning the opening tip and ended it with a steal and win-sealing layup as the Miami Heat topped the Magic 102-97. In between, the standout guard was pretty good, too, helping the Heat win their fourth straight and for a 10th time in 11 games. Butler’s defense led to 23 Orlando turnovers and 26 points off those mistakes for the Heat. The Magic, who are 1-2 this season against the rival Heat, haven’t won since Feb. 21. … GM Anthony Parker and head coach Stan Heath of the G League champion Lakeland Magic attended Sunday’s game.
Heat top Magic 111-103, get over .500 for 1st time this year
MIAMI – For the first time this season, the Miami Heat have a winning record. Miami opened the season with a loss to Orlando, and had gone 0-6 in opportunities this season to move over .500 — until Thursday. Tyler Herro scored 17 points, Kendrick Nunn had 13 and Goran Dragic added 11 for the Heat. All-Star Nikola Vucevic finished with 24 points and a game-high 17 rebounds for the Magic, who have dropped six straight. MAGIC CHAMPSOrlando’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, won that league’s championship Thursday by topping the Philadelphia-affiliated Delaware Blue Coats.
Butler, Dragic carry Heat past NBA-best Jazz, 124-116
Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk (9) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)MIAMI – The Miami Heat don't believe in statement wins. “A high-level game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “and we had some big plays down the stretch." Duncan Robinson scored 15 and Kendrick Nunn added 12 for the Heat, who held Utah to 29% shooting in the fourth quarter. It was the sixth game in Heat history in which both teams had at least 94 points through three quarters.
Spurs game at Detroit called off over virus-related concerns
(AP Photo/Darren Abate)Tuesday’s game between San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons has been postponed, marking the second time this month that the NBA has called off a game because of coronavirus-related issues. The NBA does not announce the names of players who test positive; some have revealed positive tests on their own. Being ruled out because of the protocols can suggest any number of things, including a positive test, a suspected positive test or contact-tracing data showing that a player may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. AdThe only other game called off this month for a virus-related issue was on Feb. 1, also involving the Pistons — Detroit's night game at Denver was postponed because of contact tracing issues involving the Pistons. Miami’s Tyler Herro missed a game last week because of a suspected positive test; subsequent tests showed he was fine and he was permitted to return to the Heat lineup after the one-game absence.
Heat say Herro may miss time for virus-related issue
(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)MIAMI – The Miami Heat may have another player missing games for virus-related reasons, after second-year guard Tyler Herro revealed that someone who lives with him tested positive for COVID-19. The reason the Heat cited for having Herro on the report is the NBA’s health and safety protocols, which only means it is a virus-related reason and does not suggest that he tested positive. If Herro cannot play Monday, he’d become the ninth Heat player on that list. Herro is tested daily and obviously had not tested positive Saturday, since the NBA and Heat permitted him to be on the floor; he played a team-high 40 minutes and scored 15 points. “Someone who lives with me tested positive before the game and I found out at halftime.
'We have to figure this out': Heat say turnaround will come
Miami Heat players Udonis Haslem, left, talks to Jimmy Butler during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Miami. The Miami Heat aren’t believing that quite yet — even after a disastrous start to the 2020-21 campaign. “Heat Nation, we are going to figure this out,” All-Star center Bam Adebayo said. AdThe year after losing the finals has not been kind to the most recent teams who have dropped the title series. Tyler Herro missed seven games with neck spasms.
Harden, Durant help Nets break away late, beat Heat 98-85
Harden and Durant each scored 20 points despite three relatively quiet quarters, and the Nets broke away with a big run in the fourth to beat the Miami Heat 98-85 on Monday night. Kyrie Irving added 16 points for the Nets, who completed a sweep of the Heat in two games that couldn't have been more different. “I think our defense held tight the whole game,” Durant said. Miami took a 45-41 edge into halftime, going just 4 for 19 on 3s but doubling the Nets' makes after they went 2 for 17. Nets: Durant missed his first six 3-point attempts before sinking one in the third quarter.
Durant, Irving help Nets hold off Adebayo, Heat 128-124
Miami Heat's Gabe Vincent (2) defends against Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in New York. Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Kyrie Irving took over late and had 28 and the Nets overcame Adebayo's career-high 41 points to beat the Miami Heat 128-124 on Saturday night. Irving helped pull the Nets through with 12 points in the final 5:48 after the Heat had erased nearly all of an 18-point deficit. Adebayo beat the buzzer with a jumper, than Miami opened the fourth with a 13-0 run to get within 96-95. Irving, Harden and Durant quickly combined for eight straight points but Adebayo kept coming, and the Nets needed a couple of clutch baskets from Irving and late free throws to pull it out.
Pritchard's putback pushes Celtics past Heat, 107-105
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) drives to the basket as Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)MIAMI – Payton Pritchard wasn't there last season when the Boston Celtics lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Pritchard's putback with two-tenths of a second left capped a wild finish, and the Celtics beat the Heat 107-105 in the first matchup this season of last year's East finalists. Jimmy Butler had 26 points for Miami, which got 16 points from Duncan Robinson, 15 points from Bam Adebayo and 14 from Goran Dragic. The Heat cut the lead to eight by halftime, part of what became a 39-17 run that saw Miami lead by five in the third quarter.
Mavericks star Luka Doncic sidelined by quadriceps contusion
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, shoots over Miami Heat's Tyler Herro (14) and Bam Adebayo, obscured, as Miami's Jimmy Butler (22) and Dallas' Dwight Powell watch during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Dallas. All rights reservedCHICAGO – Luka Doncic sat out the Dallas Mavericks' game Sunday night against the Chicago Bulls because of a left quadriceps contusion. Doncic was injured Friday night in the second quarter of a home victory over Miami Heat. “We don't think this is a long-term thing.”The 21-year-old Slovenian star is off to a relatively slow start this season. He's averaging 24.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists, shooting 43.2% overall and 16.1% on 3-pointers in five games.
Heat avenge embarrassment, rally to top Bucks 119-108
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, bottom, and Miami Heat forward Precious Achiuwa go for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)MIAMI – The Miami Heat engineered a 58-point turnaround against the Milwaukee Bucks in 24 hours. Milwaukee’s lead was 72-58 early in the second half, 84-73 with 3:44 left in the third. Milwaukee had 21 points after four minutes Tuesday; the Bucks were held to four in the first four minutes Wednesday. Miami finished 2020 at 36-29 (22-22 regular season, 14-7 playoffs).
2020: A year where the fist-bump became mainstream greeting
For a fist bump — the official greeting of 2020, and probably beyond. ... That fist bump was, ‘I see you, I hear you, I’m connecting with you, but I’m keeping you safe.’”Safety is the primary reason why the status of the fist bump elevated big-time this year. But let's face it: They lack the coolness of the fist bump. “Well, it was a fist bump because of the situation, but still, how many people can say they got a congratulatory fist bump from Jack Nicklaus?”This year, probably more than ever. But a fist bump is still good.
Bucks set NBA record for 3's, roll past Heat 144-97
On Tuesday, they set the NBA record for 3's in a game. The Bucks made a record 29 3-pointers in their 144-97 romp past the reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat on Tuesday night. The previous record for 3’s in a game was 27, set by the Houston Rockets against the Phoenix Suns on April 7, 2019. It was the biggest road win in Bucks history, topping the 39-point margin at New York on April 10, 1987. It was the first time since Feb. 13, 2017 that he played, scored less than 10 points and the Bucks won anyway.
Spoelstra stays perfect on Christmas, Heat beat Pels 111-98
New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (5) dribbles against Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)MIAMI – Erik Spoelstra remained perfect on Christmas, and a record-tying show from Duncan Robinson helped him stay that way. Robinson made seven 3-pointers — tying the Christmas single-game mark — and scored 23 points, helping the Heat beat the New Orleans Pelicans 111-98 to start the NBA’s holiday quintupleheader Friday. Goran Dragic scored 18 points, Bam Adebayo had 17 and Avery Bradley finished with 12 for Miami, and Spoelstra improved his Christmas record as Heat coach to 8-0. COMING HOMEVeteran ref John Goble was crew chief and got to be home for Christmas; he’s a Miami native.
Irving leads rout of Celtics in return to Boston Garden
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Boston. Irving scored 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting and had seven rebounds, five assists and two steals helping the Nets rout the Celtics 113-89 Friday night in the final preseason game for both teams. There were no fans in the new Boston Garden on Friday night, and his introduction was greeted with a faint, fake cheer. Precious Achiuwa scored 13 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Heat, while Bam Adebayo scored 13 points and Tyler Herro scored 10. McCollum led the Blazers with 26 points on 8-of-20 shooting and Gary Trent Jr. added 18 points in the loss.
NBA Finals get intense, and Game 6 of Lakers-Heat looms
The Heat have talked since the NBA Finals started about a need to play almost perfect basketball against the Lakers. “One thing about this team that we are playing, they make you pay for every mistake,” James said after Game 5. So, we have to understand that.”James is about to set the record for NBA playoff game appearances. Nobody has had more 40-point NBA Finals games in a loss than he has — the record-setting fifth entry on that list coming Friday in Miami’s 111-108 win. “We’re motivated to win Game 6 and they are motivated to win Game 6,” Davis said.
King James scores 40, but his Lakers coronation has to wait
The Lakers took their final timeout after Jimmy Butler's free throws gave the Heat a 107-106 lead with 16 seconds to play. “We got a hell of a look to win the game, to win the series,” James said. James had never missed a chance to close out an NBA Finals series after getting to three wins. There's been only one 3-1 lead overcome in the NBA Finals, and James was the catalyst that time with Cleveland in 2016. “We've just got to be better in Game 6 and close the series,” James said.
Heat force Game 6, top Lakers to stave off elimination
“That’s Jimmy Butler," Heat center Bam Adebayo said. Butler got fouled with 46.7 seconds left, then slumped over the baseline video boards, clearly exhausted. He made both foul shots for a one-point lead; Davis’ putback with 21.8 seconds left got the Lakers back on top. Butler drove the lane, drew contact and made both with 16.8 seconds left for a 109-108 lead. Lakers: James and Davis were a combined 24 for 36.
Lakers top Heat 102-96, take 3-1 lead in NBA Finals
James and the Lakers are back in control of these NBA Finals, one win away from the franchise's 17th championship. James finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Anthony Davis' 3-pointer with 39.5 seconds left finally settled matters and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 102-96 in Game 4. The Lakers lead 3-1 and can win the title when the series resumes Friday. 3-1 LEADSThis is the 36th time that a team has held a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. It was just the third time in the last 26 NBA Finals games that neither team reached 50 points in the first 24 minutes.
Butler's big night helps Heat cut Lakers' Finals lead to 2-1
With a triple-double, he joined NBA Finals lore — and the short-handed Miami Heat might have made this title matchup a series after all. Miami's starters outscored the Lakers' starting five 89-51, and the Heat held the Lakers to a 14-for-42 night from 3-point land. It’s going to be a tough game, Game 4," Herro said. ... Nick Aquilino, the son of Heat neuromuscular therapist Vinny Aquilino, performed the anthem -- a recording from a Heat game with fans in Miami. BUTLER’S TRIPLE-DOUBLEButler became the 21st player to have a triple-double in the NBA Finals — and four of the 21 were part of Sunday’s game.
Short-handed Heat fight hard, but not good enough in Game 2
Their defense just wasn't good enough and their veteran forward let them know it during a timeout in the third quarter. He wanted to play, but the Heat decided he needed to rest injuries to his left shoulder and neck. Butler insisted the Heat needed to find a way to win anyway, and he took his best shot. Tyler Herro, a 20-year-old rookie, became the youngest player to start an NBA Finals game and scored 17 points. Guard Kendrick Nunn, at 6-foot-2, blocked a shot by Davis, who stands 8 inches taller, in the fourth quarter.
Halfway home: Lakers top Heat 124-114 for 2-0 Finals lead
The NBA Finals are halfway to a coronation. And the last time the Lakers’ franchise has wasted a 2-0 lead was in the 1969 finals against Boston. The Heat have rallied from a 2-0 series hole only once in eight previous tries, that one being the 2006 NBA Finals. ... James, in his 10th NBA Finals, has a 2-0 lead in the title series for the first time. YOUNGEST STARTERHerro, at 20 years, 256 days, became the youngest player to start an NBA Finals game.
Lakers, LeBron roll in Game 1 of finals, top Heat 116-98
Anthony Davis scored 34 points, James had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled past the Miami Heat 116-98 on Wednesday night. The Heat left beaten and battered. James’ teams had been 1-8 in Game 1 of past finals, with losses in each of the last seven openers. Lakers: The Lakers improved to 17-15 in Game 1s of title series. JAMES’ RECORDSThe NBA Finals record book is basically a James scrapbook of career achievements, and he raised his spot on some of those lists Wednesday.
James, Herro see popularity rise in the NBA playoffs
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – LeBron James’ popularity, even in his 17th season, cannot be argued. Herro, according to the NBA, saw the biggest increase in followers added — 41% — among all players during the conference finals. Herro became the first player born in the 2000s to play in the NBA Finals when he checked in during the first quarter of Game 1. FAMOUS FANSFormer President Barack Obama was among those in the “virtual” crowd of fans for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. A slew of players with NBA championships also were on the big screens, including Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade.
The Finals are set: LeBron, Lakers will meet Butler, Heat
Get ready for the NBA Finals — a title series like none other, to end a season like none other. The Heat won the Eastern Conference title Sunday night, finishing off Boston a day after the Lakers won the Western Conference crown. So, for the first time — well, excluding the league’s inaugural season — two franchises that missed the playoffs the previous season will meet in the NBA Finals. “We know why I came here,” said Lakers All-Star forward Anthony Davis, whose first finals trip comes in his first L.A. season. The last Lakers’ championship was in 2010, when Bryant got his fifth and last title.
Back to the Finals: Heat oust Celtics, move to title series
Bam Adebayo scored a season-high 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Butler scored 22 points and the Heat won the Eastern Conference finals for the sixth time by topping the Boston Celtics 125-113 on Sunday night. The Heat won the series 4-2 — and now, they’ll see LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers for the title. Boston took the lead twice more, with Adebayo answering both times, first with a dunk, then a go-ahead three-point play with 6:16 left. Heat: The Heat are now guaranteed no less than $4,399,686 for their playoff share, and that number would rise to $5,791,041 if they win the title. CROSS-SPORT SUPPORTThe Celtics and Heat were getting some support from afar before Game 6.
Celtics control second half, top Heat to win Game 5 in East
Tatum had 31 points and 10 rebounds, Jaylen Brown added 28 points and the Celtics shook off a slow first half to top the Miami Heat 121-108 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals and stave off elimination. “Our deal was to come out and play, come out and compete, give it our best shot and I thought we played pretty well in the second half," Stevens said. Kemba Walker scored 15 points, Marcus Smart had a 12-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist night and Gordon Hayward scored 10 for the Celtics. “Boston played great in that second half," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. The Heat scored the first basket of the third quarter.
He's a Herro: Heat top Celtics, move a game from NBA Finals
Tyler Herro — still just 20 years old — scored a Heat rookie-record 37 points, Jimmy Butler had 24 and Miami beat the Boston Celtics 112-109 on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. They erased a double-digit deficit to take a one-point lead in the fourth — then saw the Heat run away again. The other: Magic Johnson, who had 42 in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals for the Los Angeles Lakers. And the Heat rookie playoff record was 27 by Dwyane Wade in 2004; it now belongs to Herro, who scored 17 points in the fourth alone. The biggest Heat lead in the first three games had been eight points.
Celtics top Heat 117-106, cut East finals deficit to 2-1
Jaylen Brown scored 26 points, Jayson Tatum added 25 and the Celtics got right back into the East finals with a 117-106 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 3 on Saturday night. Kemba Walker added 21 to help Boston pull to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Marcus Smart scored 20 points for Boston, going 9 for 9 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. “This is the conference finals, playing against a really good team," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. RARE BREAKPartly to allow the Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets to catch up, the Heat and Celtics won’t play Game 4 until Wednesday.
Comeback Heat do it again, rally past Celtics for 2-0 lead
And after making the Boston Celtics lose another big lead on the court — as well as their cool in the postgame locker room — the unheralded Heat are two wins away from the NBA Finals. Goran Dragic scored 25 points, Bam Adebayo led a big third-quarter rally to finish with 21, and the Heat pulled off another comeback to beat the Celtics 106-101 and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics went on a 15-2 run, silencing the Heat for nearly seven minutes and going up 94-89 on a 3-pointer by Walker with 4:25 left. ... Miami’s 20-point differential in the third quarter was a Heat record for that quarter in the playoffs, and the sixth time in Heat playoff history they outscored an opponent by at least 20 in any quarter. 3’S ARE WILDCrowder’s 3-pointer with 5:43 left in the third quarter was — fittingly — the 33,333rd in NBA playoff history.
Bam! Adebayo's block helps Heat win Game 1 over Celtics
He put the Heat ahead again in overtime — and then Bam Adebayo finished it off with the biggest block of his career. The Celtics went to Tatum on the ensuing possession, only to watch him get denied by Adebayo. Tatum scored 30 points for the Celtics, Marcus Smart had 26 points, Walker had 19 and Jaylen Brown added 17. Goran Dragic had 29 points, Jae Crowder scored 22, Jimmy Butler scored 20 and Adebayo had 18 for the Heat. MIAMI VS. BOSTONTuesday was the 141st meeting all-time between the Celtics and Heat.
Heat reach the East finals, top Bucks to win series 4-1
Butler and Goran Dragic each scored 17 points for the Heat, who won the series 4-1 and will face either Boston or Toronto when the NBAs final four gets underway next week. It's Miami's first time in the East finals since 2014, and the first time Butler has gotten to the NBA's final four. Jae Crowder scored 16, Tyler Herro scored 14, Bam Adebayo had 13 and Kelly Olynyk had 12 apiece for the Heat. Donte DiVincenzo scored 17, Wesley Matthews and Marvin Williams each had 11 and Eric Bledsoe had nine assists for the Bucks. UP NEXTHeat: Game 1 of the East finals vs. Toronto or Boston, TBD.
No Giannis, no problem: Bucks top Heat in OT, force Game 5
Even with Giannis Antetokounmpo missing most of the game with a sprained right ankle, the Bucks extended their season to a Game 5 on Tuesday. The Heat gave up 12 straight points in the final period Sunday, wasting what was an eight-point lead in a closeout game. Antetokounmpo scored 19 points for the Bucks in only 11 minutes, while Brook Lopez and George Hill each had 14 for Milwaukee. TIP-INSBucks: Milwaukee missed 19 consecutive 3-pointers its last 12 of Game 3 and first seven of Game 4 before Antetokounmpo connected late in the first quarter. Heat: Miami was looking to become the first No.
Heat use big 4th quarter to take 3-0 series lead over Bucks
The Heat outscored Milwaukee 40-13 in the fourth quarter the biggest such final-quarter margin in NBA playoff history to take a 3-0 series lead. Adebayo had 20 points and 16 rebounds, and Jae Crowder had 17 points to help the Heat improve to 7-0 in this postseason. Butler had 17 of his points in the fourth, and the Heat pulled off their biggest fourth-quarter playoff comeback ever. Butler had the next nine Miami points as the Heat went back on top, and he set Adebayo up for a short basket with 4:20 remaining to restore a 100-99 lead. ...GIANNIS 1KA dunk in the fourth quarter gave Antetokounmpo 19 points on the night and 1,000 in his 42-game playoff career.
Butler makes FTs with no time left, lifts Heat past Bucks
This was just a free throw, no time on the clock, nobody else from the Miami Heat or Milwaukee Bucks standing along the lane. That got Milwaukee within two, and Butler made one free throw with 7.7 seconds left to get the lead back to three. Bam Adebayo scored 15 points, Butler and Duncan Robinson each had 13 and Kelly Olynyk added 11 for Miami which is 6-0 in this postseason. Middleton scored 23 points for Milwaukee, which got 16 apiece from Lopez and Eric Bledsoe and 14 from George Hill. FOULING ON 3SThe Heat fouled the Bucks five times on 3-point tries in the game, including twice against Lopez in a 26-second span of the first quarter.
Butler scores 40, Heat top Bucks 115-104 for 1-0 series lead
I felt like I took it up a level in the fourth quarter," Butler said. Bam Adebayo had 12 points, 17 rebounds and six assists for the fifth-seeded Heat, who are 3-1 overall against the top-seeded Bucks this season. Khris Middleton scored 28 points for Milwaukee, which also dropped Game 1 of its first-round series against Orlando. Kyle Korver added 11 for the Bucks, who scored 40 points on the way to an 11-point lead after the first quarter then managed 64 the rest of the way. Bucks: Milwaukee is now 20-32 in Game 1s.
Bucks, Heat set to open Eastern Conference semifinal series
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup between the top-seeded Bucks and fifth-seeded Heat is Monday night in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Milwaukee needed five games to dispatch Orlando in a series that ended Saturday; the Heat swept Indiana in the first round. Were not reinventing the whole wheel on how we prepare for a game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Its going to be a great series, Bucks center Brook Lopez said. REGULAR-SEASON SERIESMiami won the season series 2-1.
Dragic scores 23, 5th-seeded Heat sweep Pacers to advance
Tyler Herro had 16 points and Bam Adebayo added 14 points and 19 rebounds for the Heat, who made it out of the first round for the first time since 2016. Victor Oladipo had 25 points and Myles Turner added 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who have dropped four straight postseason series to the Heat since 2012. Dragic's layup at the end of the third quarter gave the Heat an eight-point lead and the Pacers never mounted a serious comeback in the fourth. Heat guard Jimmy Butler left the game in the first quarter with a left shoulder strain. Pacers: T.J. Warren had 21 points for Indiana.
Butler, Dragic help Heat pull away to beat Pacers in Game 1
The Heat pulled away in the closing minutes, long after the Pacers had lost star guard Victor Oladipo to an eye injury. 4 and 5 seeds, who were separated by a game in the standings in this pandemic-shortened season. Indiana went 6-2 in the seeding games and Miami was 3-5, with the teams splitting a pair of meetings. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points apiece for the Pacers, who will try to even the series on Thursday. Pacers: Oladipo's loss came after coach Nate McMillan said the guard was no longer playing with a minutes restriction.
The West play-in race may be decided by slimmest of margins
Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) goes to the basket over Miami Heat's Andre Iguodala, left, and Tyler Herro, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The suns won 119-112. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
The West play-in race may be decided by slimmest of margins
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The race in the Western Conference for two play-in game spots will go down to the wire. Memphis, Portland, San Antonio and Phoenix — the still-unbeaten-in-the-bubble, 6-0 at Disney Suns — are the last four teams standing in the race for the last West spot. Otherwise, the race goes to Thursday, when it’ll have to be known who the two clubs are that will be headed to the best-of-two play-in series. Win two, they’ll finish eighth and hold the upper hand in the play-in series. 8 seed with a 2-0 finish, and there’s also a way for the Spurs to miss the play-in series entirely — also with a 2-0 finish.