Sports

Butler leads smothering Heat defense to beat Bulls


Miami Heat Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat brings the ball up the court against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on November 27, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP

Gabe Vincent came off the bench to score 20 points as the Miami Heat combined balanced offense and stifling defense to end their four-game road swing with a 107-104 defeat of the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

The Heat forced the Bulls into 22 turnovers, which Miami converted into 21 points. Coupled with holding Chicago to just 38-of-81 shooting from the floor, including 11-of-39 from 3-point range, the Heat rode their defense to a win that salvaged a .500 mark on the road trip.

Jimmy Butler keyed the Heat’s turnover generation with five steals.

The two sides went back-and-forth throughout the night, but Miami went on an 11-4 run that lasted 3:31 in the late minutes of the fourth quarter. That was enough to give the Heat a cushion the rest of the way, with Chicago unable to cut the deficit to any fewer than three points.

Miami went 19-of-22 from the free-throw line, including 6-of-7 in the final 3:26. Three from Max Strus when he was fouled on a jump shot were crucial to the late-game run that effectively put the game away for the Heat.

Strus scored 13 points off the bench, joining Kyle Lowry with 19 points, Butler with 18 and Duncan Robinson with 16.

Lowry and Butler both connected on big baskets in the final minutes to stem the Bulls’ rally. Robinson and Vincent each hit four 3-pointers, and Lowry added three.

Lowry matched Bam Adebayo’s team-high of six assists. Adebayo added nine points and seven rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the floor. Alex Caruso went 6-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, en route to 22 points off the bench.

Zach LaVine hit four 3-pointers for Chicago but finished with just 16 points. Nikola Vucevic finished with seven points and a game-high 13 rebounds in the loss.

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