Jimmy Butler showcased his scoring prowess, securing a season-high 32 points, steering the Miami Heat to a 111-105 triumph over the injury-riddled Charlotte Hornets in the NBA In-Season Tournament.
Bam Adebayo complemented the effort with 21 points and 11 rebounds, maintaining the Heat’s unbeaten status in the tournament. Duncan Robinson contributed 18 points.
With a flawless 2-0 record in group play, Miami’s victory capped a perfect 4-0 road trip, defeating San Antonio, Atlanta, and Memphis.
Despite this success, challenges loom large as the Heat brace for a five-game road stretch after a brief return home on Thursday night.
Charlotte’s P.J. Washington shone in the loss, amassing 32 points and sinking six of the Hornets’ season-high 15 three-pointers. LaMelo Ball contributed significantly with 28 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds.
Despite Charlotte’s late-game rally, cutting the deficit to 95-90, Butler’s clutch plays, including a fallaway jumper, secured the Heat’s victory.
Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. emerged as a key contributor off the bench for Miami, delivering 17 points and five rebounds in 32 minutes.
The Hornets faced adversity, missing six players due to injuries, including key starters Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier. Forced into starting roles, Theo Maledon and JT Thor grappled with a Miami squad that capitalized on Charlotte’s thin depth.
Miles Bridges remained absent, concluding a 10-game suspension, leaving the Hornets out of sync on the court, an issue Coach Steve Clifford deemed unacceptable.