The Miami HEAT came into Friday night’s matchup with the Washington Wizards off of a 2-1 road trip highlighted by an OT win against the Toronto Raptors. After another road back to back loss against one of the league’s top teams, a home tilt against the sub .500 Wizards felt like a welcome respite.
Before the game Wizards coach Scott Brooks had high praise for Bam Adebayo and the Heat coaching staff saying, “(Bam) is a bonafide star big in this league.” As a thank you for the kind words, Adebayo scored a quick 10 pts in the first quarter, including a couple of butter smooth jumpers that other teams have been daring him to take.
Bam starting to get comfy w/ the midrange jumper as a face-up move. Made two in the first 5 minutes
— alex toledo (@tropicalblanket) December 7, 2019
Adebayo got some help in the 2nd quarter as Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro came to life. Despite their efforts, the Heat trailed going into the half for only the second time this season due to an uncharacteristically poor defensive effort. The Heat struggled to contain Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans in particular, with Bertans going 4 for 7 from beyond the arc in the 2nd quarter. Kendrick Nunn continued his recent struggles with only 3 points in the first half and a couple of sloppy sequences.
The 2nd half defense was far better than the first as the Wizards – one of the most potent offenses in the league – only managed to score 38 points. Offensively, the trio of Butler, Adebayo and Herro continued their scoring barrage but the Heat struggled to increase or even maintain a lead going into the 4th.
So with a tight game and the clock winding down, the Heat turned to their closer. Butler was brought to Miami for a myriad of reasons, but foremost amongst them was to give Coach Erik Spoelstra the kind of closer the team hasn’t seen since Dwyane Wade left for the Chicago Bulls.
With just over a minute left and the Heat leading 108-103, Butler had seen enough. He calmly stepped into a 25 ft 3 point shot that iced the game and gave the Heat a win. In typical Butler fashion, he stomped his way to the Heat bench after the Wizards called timeout and shared some “colorful” words with his teammates. The kind of aggressive action that may have rubbed some of his past franchises the wrong way, is embraced in Miami, if not encouraged.
Jimmy Butler is the closer we’ve needed the last 3 years
— WayofCraig (@H3atPlay0ff5) December 7, 2019
Miami went on to win by a score of 112-103 as Butler finished with a triple double (28-11-11) to remain undefeated at home. Adebayo chipped in a double double (24 pts and 14 rebs), while Herro added 22 pts of his own.
But the night belonged to Butler who shared some words with this former coach Tom Thibodeau on his way off the floor. Thibs was all smiles as he watched his former superstar close out an opponent in familiar fashion. Seemingly happy for Jimmy, as he has finally found an NBA home.