Jimmy Butler scored 22 points and added seven assists while Bam Adebayo added 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Miami Heat used a big second half to beat the Denver Nuggets 125-105 on Saturday.
- Points: Butler/Adebayo – 22
- Assists: Jimmy Butler – 7
- Rebounds: Bam Adebayo – 9
Kelly Olynyk scored all 20 of his points in the fourth quarter, Duncan Robinson scored 17, Goran Dragic had 13 points and Kendrick Nunn added 11 for the Heat (42-24). Miami outscored Denver 69-48 in the second half.
Nikola Jokic had 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds and Jerami Grant also had 19 points for the shorthanded Nuggets (43-23).
Denver played without starters Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Will Barton. All three have nagging injuries but could have played if Saturday’s contest had been a playoff game.
Monte Morris had 13 points, Michael Porter Jr scored 11 and Torrey Craig added 10 points for the Nuggets. Denver committed 19 turnovers that led to 35 points for Miami.
The Nuggets used a 7-2 run at the start of the third quarter to take a six-point lead. But Butler scored four straight points, Adebayo had six straight and Jae Crowder hit a three-pointer to cap a 14-3 run that gave Miami a 72-67 lead midway through the period.
Denver got within two points but Crowder hit two more from deep and Robinson hit a three-pointer during a 13-0 run that gave the Heat an 87-72 lead late in the third.
The Nuggets got back within 10 but Butler’s lay-up at the period buzzer made it 94-79 heading into the fourth.
Miami pushed the advantage to 20 points in the first three minutes of the fourth before the Nuggets scored six straight to get closer and force a Heat timeout.
It was 106-92 after a three-point play by Grant but the Heat put the game away with a trio of three-pointers from Olynyk that made the margin 117-95.