Adebayo, Butler lead Heat by Spurs for third straight win
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Miami got to rest Bam Adebayo in one game and inspire him in the next.
Adebayo scored 23 points while Jimmy Butler had 18 points and 11 assists to help the Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs 107-87 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory.
It was Miami’s largest margin of victory in San Antonio ever.
Adebayo had eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in 31 minutes after sitting out Monday’s win over Houston with a sore right knee.
”I think he was really angry at all of us for not being able to play the Houston game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”So, I think he just wanted to really get out there and compete.”
Butler, Adebayo, and Tyler Herro were all listed as questionable with leg injuries but contributed early for the Heat.
”Our leaders understood how important this road trip is,” Spoelstra said. ”They wanted to set the tone for us.”
Herro added 22 points for the Heat, who have won nine of 13.
San Antonio was led by DeMar DeRozan with 15 points. Derrick White added 13 points, Dejounte Murray had 11 and no other player scored in double figures for the Spurs, who have lost five straight at home.
Cut from the Gregg Popovich-led USA Men’s National Team in advance of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Adebayo continued to make his case for inclusion in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Adebayo had seven points, three rebounds and two steals in the opening quarter to tie the game at 27 despite a sluggish start for Miami.
”I don’t think it was pent up aggression,” Adebayo said of his one-game absence. ”Just happy to be out there. Happy to be out there with my team.”
Adebayo would finish 8 for 12 from the field and 7 for 8 on free throws while scoring all his points in the first three quarters.
San Antonio had won two straight but was unable to continue the explosive offense it demonstrated on the road.
The Heat outscored the Spurs 30-15 in the third quarter.
”We guarded, we contested shots, multiple efforts,” Butler said. ”Obviously rebounded the basketball. Always helps when you make shots.”
The Spurs shot 10 for 35 on 3-pointers and failed to score 100 points for the first time since losing to Denver 106-96 on April 7, a span of seven games.
”Based on how we played and based on how they stuck with their press, they deserved to win,” Popovich said. ”It was a good effort through about 3 1/2 quarters, then they got hot on top of us playing poorly on the offensive end. That was a bad combination, and they ended up kicking our butts.”
Heat: Butler returned from a two-game absence due to a sprained right ankle. . Adebayo and Herro returned after missing Monday’s victory against Houston. Adebayo sat out with a sore right knee and Herro had a sore right foot. . Former Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon had six points and three rebounds in 15 minutes. Dedmon played for the Spurs in 2017 and signed with the Atlanta Hawks the following season. . The Heat are 14-15 on the road this season.
Spurs: San Antonio is 28-5 at home against Miami. . DeRozan has scored 1,000 points for the 11th consecutive season, joining LeBron James and Russell Westbrook as the only players do so since 2010. . Poeltl finished with five blocks, including two on KZ Okpala on the same possession in the final seconds of the first quarter.
Heat: Visit the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
Spurs: Host the Detroit Pistons on Thursday.