Jimmy Butler scored 28 points, including a step-back buzzer-beater as time expired, to lead the Miami Heat to a 118-116 win over the Chicago Bulls Saturday night at Kesaya Center.
Butler was responsible for the game-winning shot at the buzzer, putting Kaseya Center on its feet in celebratory fashion. Butler grabbed a rebound, came up the left side of the court, went across a pair of screens set by Kevin Love and Kyle Lowry and crossed over to get to his spot in the mid-range before sinking the game-winning shot over the outstretched arm of Chicago's Coby White.
Let's get to some takeaways from the game.
Why the Heat won
Pace was the name of the game for the Heat today. They kept the momentum of the game in their hands right from tip-off. Spoelstra was sure in adjusting the Heat’s speed following a recent loss to the Bulls. They played to Chiacgo’s hands in their last outing, but Miami made sure to address that on Saturday.
Spoelstra and the Heat were playing in football terms, keeping time of possession in their favor. He was able to work through lineups to either push through fastbreaks or slow down and get into a half court offense. The Bulls spent the game reacting, instead of putting themselves in positions that can create themselves.
This led to an efficient night from a couple of Heat contributors, including 28 points from Jimmy Butler, 18 from Jaime Jaquez Jr., and 17 from Caleb Martin. Butler went on to sink in the game winning shot, working through his favored pace at the end of the game.
Game ball: Kevin Love
Veteran forward Kevin Love turned back the clock with his first half performance. Love started the game 5-5 from three, heading into the locker room with 15 points. He served as the Heat’s outlet when they needed a scoring opportunity late in the shot clock.
Love was brought into the game as the small-ball five man, opening up the offense with his ability to facilitate in transition and bury a three when needed. He finished the game with 22 points on, shooting 8-12 from the field.
The second half saw a more decelerated Love, but his involvement in the first half is exactly what a second half team like Miami needed. He left the driving seat to the stars in the second half, having more of a defensive and rebounding role in the final 24 minutes.