Jimmy Butler scored 36 points to help the Miami Heat shake off a slow start and beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-115 on Thursday, pushing their NBA winning streak to seven games.
The Heat, with Tyler Herro still sidelined by injury, missed 10 of their first 11 shots, but the Nets couldn’t build a lead of more than six points in the first quarter.
By halftime the Heat were up 60-52, and Butler scored 18 in the third quarter as Miami pushed their lead to double digits, never trailing in the second half.
Butler connected on 12 of 19 shots from the field and added five rebounds with three assists and three blocked shots.
Duncan Robinson scored 26 points for Miami and Bam Adebayo chipped in 20.
Mikal Bridges and Lonnie Walker IV scored 23 points apiece for the Nets, whose November 1 victory over last year’s Eastern Conference champions had pushed the Heat to 1-4.
Miami haven’t dropped a game since and have climbed to third place in the East, 1.5 games behind leaders Boston.
In the only other game on Thursday, the short-handed Golden State Warriors hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Warriors, again without injured Stephen Curry, were playing their first game since Draymond Green was handed a five-game suspension for grabbing Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert around the neck during a loss to the Timberwolves on Tuesday.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters before the game that Green, who was ejected after grabbing Gobert around the neck and dragging him across the court, “definitely took it too far.”
Kerr said he had no objection to Green reacting to Gobert’s contact with Golden State’s Klay Thompson — after Thompson tangled with Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels — but he said Green crossed a line.
“He hung on for six, seven seconds. It was a terrible visual for the league, for Draymond, for everybody,” Kerr said. “Draymond was wrong, he knows that, it’s a bad look. The five games is deserved. We move forward.”