Jimmy Butler's 35 help Heat survive Luka Doncic's 42 in 129-122 victory over Mavericks
Published in Basketball
MIAMI — For extended stretches Saturday night at Miami-Dade Arena, defense was optional, which for the Dallas Mavericks has become the story of a season gone sour.
For extended stretches Saturday night, the Miami Heat found themselves nearly as defenseless.
Finally, a stand was made, one that snapped a three-game losing streak and moved the Heat closer to the top seed in the Eastern Conference play-in round.
No, not exactly the type of game Erik Spoelstra would prefer, and not the type of postseason placement the Heat had targeted at No. 7 in the Eastern Conference, but the 129-122 victory at Miami-Dade Arena at least restored a healthier sense of order.
Pushing to an early 18-point lead even with center Bam Adebayo sidelined by a hip bruise, the Heat improved to 41-37 with four games left in their regular season.
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 35 points, supported by 20 from Cody Zeller, 18 from Kevin Love, 18 from Max Strus and 15 from Tyler Herro. Butler also had a season-high 12 assists.
Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 42 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, as Dallas fell to 37-41, assured of no better than a .500 season.
The Mavericks closed at .610 from the field.
The Heat are idle until a Tuesday night game against the Detroit Pistons at the start of a three-game trip that leads to their April 9 regular-season finale against the visiting Orlando Magic.
Five Degrees of Heat from Saturday’s game:
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