Adebayo, Butler help Heat beat Knicks in opener of home-and-home
NEW YORK (AP) — Bam Adebayo had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Jimmy Butler had a big second half and just missed a triple-double and the Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 109-103 on Sunday in the opener of a home-and-home series.
Butler finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He shot just 3 for 11 from the field but scored 12 points after halftime.
Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro each added 16 points for the Heat, who won their second straight after dropping seven of eight.
Julius Randle had 26 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, but the Knicks had their two-game win streak snapped. Reggie Bullock made seven 3-pointers and scored 21 points.
The teams meet again Tuesday in Miami.
Butler, as he often did during Miami's run to the NBA Finals, made many of the big plays down the stretch. He snapped a 94-all tie with a jumper with 4:17 to play and followed with a pair of free throws. After a Knicks basket, he drove into the lane and passed to Kelly Olynyk, who scored while being fouled, completing the three-point play to make it 101-96.
The Knicks jumped to a 15-5 lead but the defenses soon settled in and Miami led 25-23 after one. New York then went 7 for 11 from behind the arc in the second and shot 68.4% overall, but Miami hit 65% of its shots and held a 60-59 edge at the break.
The Heat then limited the Knicks to 18 points in the third to take an 82-77 lead to the final period.
Heat: Miami used its 16th different starting lineup in its 23 games, with Nunn making his third start. But with Goran Dragic sitting out with a sprained left ankle as Miami's latest injury, coach Erik Spoelstra said: “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us and we don’t want any pity."
Knicks: Randle was 5 for 5 in the second quarter, with three 3-pointers, for 13 points. ... C Nerlens Noel missed his second straight game with a sore left knee.
BUTLER'S DONE IT
Butler began his career playing for Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago, where he averaged 2.6 points as a rookie in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Thibodeau said he and Bulls leadership viewed Butler as someone who would be a solid rotation player, not one who would become a regular All-Star who averaged more than 20 points by the time he left Chicago.
“To say that we saw him as a superstar, we didn’t see that,” Thibodeau said. “But that’s why you should never measure what’s inside a person’s heart, his head, his drive. He is such a great worker and so smart. He got better every year and to the point now where he’s one of the elite players in the league and the impact that he has on the game is unbelievable.”