NEW YORK— Jimmy Butler scored 20 points, Bam Adebayo had 17 points and 16 rebounds and the Miami Heat scored the final 10 points to pull out a 109-106 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.
Goran Dragic led the Heat with 24 points, starting the closing 10-0 burst with a three-point play.
Miami trailed 106-99 after a 3-pointer by Joe Harris with 1:45 remaining, but pitched a shutout from there and got the victory thanks largely to the aggressiveness of Butler. He kept attacking the rim and had five free throws in the closing run, overcoming his 5-for-17 shooting from the field.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 29 points and Harris had a season-high 25 for the Nets, who had won six of their previous eight games. But this was one in which they missed the playmaking of Kyrie Irving, who missed his ninth straight game because of a right shoulder injury.
Without their All-Star guard, they couldn’t get into anything against the tough Miami defense down the stretch and had just one basket in the final 4-plus minutes.
There were 15 lead changes and seven ties in the first half, when the biggest lead for either team was seven points after David Nwaba’s 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left sent the Nets to the locker room ahead 65-58.
Brooklyn’s lead was one midway through the fourth quarter before Harris made two 3-pointers in less than 30 seconds. Butler answered with a 3 for Miami, but Dinwiddie scored five straight to make it 103-95, the largest lead for either team all game.
It was 106-99 after another 3 by Harris with 1:45 to play, but that’s where the Nets’ scoring finished.
Heat: Dion Waiters was with the Heat but inactive, a day after returning to practice following his 10-game suspension for an incident on the team plane. He has not played this season but will travel on Miami’s three-game road trip. … Coach Erik Spoelstra said rookie KZ Okpala (strained Achilles tendon) was nearing a return and would hopefully begin working soon with their G League affiliate in Sioux Falls.
Nets: Coach Kenny Atkinson said he hadn’t decided whether Dinwiddie would return to the bench when Irving returns, or continue to start alongside him until Caris LeVert (right thumb surgery) is healthy. “Lot of things to juggle there, but I think we’ve got to focus on this group right now and cross that bridge when we get to it,” he said.
The Nets went 9-6 in November, their first winning record in the month since 2012. Atkinson praised the way the responded to losing its starting backcourt during a five-game road trip early in the month.
“You start going into your 13th guy, 14th guy, 15th guy, can those guys come and help you win games?” Atkinson said. “And I’d just give our guys, our program, a B+, A in that sense, that we’ve come out of this thing with the injuries we’ve had looking in a positive direction. So I feel good about it in that sense.”
THOSE GUYS IN GREEN
Among the travelers in New York on the holiday weekend were two NBA teams who had games Sunday. Boston was visiting the Knicks and was too close for comfort for Spoelstra.
“It’s awkward. We were staying in the same hotel as the Celtics. I wanted to walk right by them,” he said with a smile. “But that’s this league. Going to talk about our travel coordination and changes.”
Heat: At Toronto on Tuesday night.
Nets: At Atlanta on Wednesday night.