Adebayo, Butler lead Heat to 121-100 win over Wizards
Feb 7, 2022, 4:50 AM | Updated: 8:49 pm
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bam Adebayo scored 21 points and Jimmy Butler had 19 as the Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat cruised to a 121-100 win over the Washington Wizards on Monday night.
Miami (35-20) won its third straight and improved to 3-2 on a six-game road trip.
“We’re just playing at an extremely high level,” Butler said. “Our energy’s been there, and it’s also good to win on the road.”
Corey Kispert equaled his career high with 20 points for the Wizards (24-29), who lost for the ninth time in 11 games. They are a season-low five games under .500 after opening 10-3.
The difference was 3-pointers. The Heat shot 18 for 32 (56.3%) from long range while the Wizards were just 7 for 31 (22.6%).
Miami, which never trailed, went on a 22-1 run to take a 98-70 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Adebayo scored 14 points in the third.
“Bam on this road trip has been making some great plays in knowing when to go aggressive and score and knowing when to find somebody else for an easy basket,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s always a tough balance when you’re a great player.”
Late in the third period, three technical fouls were assessed in just over two minutes. Washington’s Deni Avdija and Montrezl Harrell each received one, along with Spoelstra.
Heat: G Tyler Herro was out with right knee soreness. … Spoelstra is honored to be coaching Team Durant at the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 20 in Cleveland. “I remember in the beginning of December when we were back in the standings, it seemed like a little bit out of reach, but guys continued to grind,” Spoelstra said. “It’s been a unique season because of all the revolving doors, and I just really commend our group.” … Gabe Vincent had 16 points and Caleb Martin added 15.
Wizards: C Daniel Gafford is in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. … G Bradley Beal missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left wrist. “Hopefully we’ll have something this week,” coach Wes Unseld Jr. said.
Near the end of the game, Wizards player development coach Mike Batiste got into an argument with at least one fan. Harrell led Batiste away and toward the locker room.
“To my understanding, a fan, or several fans, said something that was out of line,” Unseld said. “Obviously, we have to take the high road. You just can’t indulge in that. But I think it was a situation where something was said that was a bit over the line, and I think it got the best of one of our coaches. But either way, you have to take the high road.”
Spoelstra knows how important 3-point shooting is.
“The energy really starts from our defense,” he said. “They were really active in forcing turnovers, in forcing tough shots and we got some easy ones in the open court. We have a bunch of ignitable guys. They hit one and that can easily turn into four or five.”
Wizards F Kyle Kuzma was traded from the Lakers to Washington in a five-team deal that sent Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles last summer. And with Thursday’s trade deadline approaching, Kuzma knows it can be a difficult time for players.
“You’re not wanted. The world is kind of against you,” Kuzma said. “It affects your play. I’ve seen it. I’ve been through it firsthand. The biggest thing in this period is you have to understand, you have to be a professional at the end of the day. You still have to come to work.”
Heat: Visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.
Wizards: Host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
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