Butler records triple-double as Heat beat Rockets to start road trip

Published February 12, 2021, 12:59 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat goes up for a shot against Jae’Sean Tate of the Houston Rockets during the first quarter at the Toyota Center on February 11, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

Jimmy Butler’s triple-double of 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists propelled the Miami Heat to a fourth straight NBA victory on Thursday, a 101-94 win over the Houston Rockets.

Butler registered his 10th career triple-double and his sixth with the Heat — surpassing Dwyane Wade for the second most in Miami history.

Max Strus came off the bench to score 21 points and Bam Adebayo finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat, who trailed 53-47 at halftime before rallying in the second half to get their seven-game road trip off on the right foot. 

Miami dominated the third quarter, outscoring Houston 28-10, but then allowed the Rockets to pull within three late in the fourth.

“I think we just stuck with it, got some stops when we needed to, some quality buckets,” said Butler. “We just continued to play hard, that’s how we pulled this one out.”

Runner-up to the Lakers in last season’s NBA Finals, the Heat are trying to claw their way into playoff position in the East after being hit hard by Covid-19 absences and a string of injuries early in the season.

Their roster took another hit on Thursday when they learned right before tip off that Tyler Herro couldn’t play because of Covid-19 protocols.

He had made the trip to Houston, where the Heat launched their longest road trip since 2009.

“There is no excuses, we’re expected to win, at least compete,” Butler said. “We have times where we don’t even do that, but after getting guys back, everybody’s getting more confident, getting in better shape. Hopefully we can keep winning.”

Guard John Wall finished with 17 points and seven assists, DeMarcus Cousins tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds and Eric Gordon scored 17 points off the bench for the Rockets, who were without their leading rebounder Christian Wood for the fourth straight game.

Houston got off to a strong start to lead by 10 points at the end of the first quarter.

The Heat chipped away at the lead then seized command in the third quarter to take a 12-point cushion into the fourth.

The Rockets went on a 9-0 run late in the fourth to close the gap to 97-94. But Butler sank two clutch free throws with 10 seconds remaining to make it 99-94 and the Heat closed it out.