The roster could change with Thursday’s 3 p.m. NBA trading deadline.
What the Miami Heat needed to do Wednesday night was change the outlook after an uneven 1-3 trip.
Back on their home court, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo could not have looked more at home in leading the Heat to a 116-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Miami-Dade Arena.
With the Heat moving away from what has been a largely unproductive 3-point attack this season, the Heat instead turned to Butler at the rim and Adebayo in the paint.
Adebayo led the Heat with 38 points, with Butler scoring 25, as the Heat extended their season-best home winning streak to seven, with the league-worst Houston Rockets up next on Friday night at the end of this two-game homestand.
The Heat also got a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double from forward Caleb Martin, who also had a career-high five steals, and 15 points from guard Tyler Herro.
The Heat attempted a season-low 19 3-pointers, making six.
“It just depends on the team, depends on the game, depends on what’s given to you,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You also have to play basketball.
“I think we did a great job of being assertive.”
The Heat were without point guard Kyle Lowry, who also is expected to miss the next two games due to knee soreness, with Gabe Vincent starting in his place. Vincent converted three 3-pointers on a night no other Heat player had more than one, closing with 17 points.
With the trading deadline up next, Butler was asked about Lowry, the godfather of his daughter, who has been a big part of trade speculation.
“I love Kyle as an NBA player, as a human being. I want to play with Kyle,” Butler said, “but so much is out of my control.”
He added quietly, “He ain’t going anywhere.”
Five Degrees of Heat from Wednesday’s game:
1. Closing time: The Heat went up 16 early and led 39-30 at the end of the first quarter, their highest-scoring opening period of season, but then trailed 63-60 at halftime. From there, the Heat pushed back to an 89-83 lead entering the fourth.
The Heat then went up 12 early in the fourth quarter, before the Pacers moved back within 99-98 on a pair of Myles Turner free throws with 6:15 to play.
But from there, the Heat pushed back to a 105-98 lead on a Vincent 3-pointer with 4:48 left.
Later, a Buddy Hield 3-pointer with 68 seconds to play got Indiana within 109-104.
It got even shakier with 10.5 seconds to play, when Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton converted a 3-pointer off a Heat turnover to draw Indiana within 112-109.
Adebayo then put it away with free throws.
Adebayo cited the Heat’s 36 of 39 from the foul line as the difference.
“I think the difference was we shot 40 free throws,” he said. “When you have that type of aggressiveness from the jump, getting to the foul line, I think it takes a lot of pressure off your threes.”
2. Turning it on: After a somewhat passive first half that saw him take only one free throw, Butler erupted for 14 points in the third quarter, including 6 of 7 from the line, helping lead the Heat back from what had grown to a nine-point deficit.
At one point in that third quarter, Butler mouthed, “He can’t guard me,” after he was fouled by Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin.
“People started talking to me and I just tried to hoop, honestly,” Butler said.
Butler’s 16th point moved him past Kevin Edwards for 15th on the Heat all-time scoring list.
3. Bam, too: Adebayo was up to 20 points by halftime and later moved to 10 of 10 from the line in the third quarter. He went into the fourth with 24 points.
He closed 12 of 16 from the field, 14 of 14 from the line.
“It’s all about taking the right shots at the right time,” Butler said.” And I think he’s found the right balance in that.”
Adebayo later helped the Heat buy time as Butler watched from the bench at the start of the fourth quarter, at a time when Heat leads typically have dwindled.
This time, with Adebayo settling the team, Butler left with the Heat up six and returned with that same margin.
“You get the sense when it was one of these nights, and it was for me,” Adebayo said of his midrange jumper consistently falling.
4. Trade fallout: Before the game, Spoelstra addressed Tuesday’s trade of center Dewayne Dedmon to the San Antonio Spurs.
“First, we feel grateful and appreciative that we were able to get Dewayne when we did two years ago, and he helped us,” Spoelstra said in addressing the trade for the first time. “So this is a move we felt made most sense just from a roster-flexibility standpoint.”
Dedmon had played Saturday night as the primary backup to Adebayo, after Udonis Haslem did so the previous game. That was when the Heat thought rookie center Orlando Robinson would miss extended time with his thumb fracture. Instead, Robinson was back Wednesday night, missing just those two games, entering midway through the opening period.
“We also got more good news, obviously, with Orlando,” Spoelstra said. “He’ll be able to play with a splint without missing any more time.”
5. New arrival: Undrafted rookie guard Jamaree Bouyea was in uniform after being signed earlier in the day to a 10-day contract. Bouyea had been with the Heat’s G League affiliate, after working with the Heat during summer league and training camp.
“He has gotten a lot better and he gives you that speed-and-quickness factor that is unique,” Spoelstra said. “And he’s made progress defensively. He can be extremely disruptive with that quickness.
“And then in terms of getting a team organized and all that stuff, it’ll be something that he’ll continue to work on, and I’ve seen a lot of progress in that area, as well.”
Bouyea did not play, with Spoelstra mixing and matching point guards when Vincent was out.
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