Jimmy Butler scores 23 as Heat hold off Cavaliers 100-97

Jan 31, 2023, 4:43 AM | Updated: 7:51 pm

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) passes against Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) d...

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) passes against Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Bam Adebayo added 18 points and 11 rebounds and the Miami Heat showed their experience down the stretch in a 100-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

Caleb Martin scored 18 points and matched his career high with 10 rebounds, and Tyler Herro also scored 18 for the Heat, who moved within 1 1/2 games of the fifth-place Cavs in the Eastern Conference standings.

After 45 up-and-down minutes, the Heat made key plays when it mattered most.

“When it gets to the last three of four minutes, because of the experiences we’ve had, guys feel comfortable enough to execute under that kind of pressure,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said Miami’s maturity was the difference.

“That’s why they are who they are,” he said.

Butler, who has been slowed by injuries for much of the season, hit a short jumper to put the Heat up 98-93 with 1:23 left, and his free throw — following a huge offensive rebound by Adebayo — kept the Heat ahead by five with 12 seconds left.

Darius Garland’s 3-pointer brought the Cavs within 99-97 with 8.7 seconds remaining. Cleveland fouled Butler with 7.3 seconds left, and he split his free throws, giving Cleveland a chance to tie.

All-Star starter Donovan Mitchell rushed the ball up the floor but his contested 3-pointer at the buzzer was short.

“They know who to key in on at that point,” Bickerstaff said. “But I thought (Mitchell) did a great job of creating separation and getting a shot off. I thought we got as good a look as we can at that point.”

Butler was most pleased by Miami’s defense in the closing minutes.

“We still had lapses, but I’m glad those lapses did not cost us the game,” he said. “We got stops down the stretch when we needed to.”

Evan Mobley scored 19 points, Mitchell had 16 and Jarrett Allen added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavs, who dropped to 21-6 at home.

Mitchell and Darius Garland were a combined 4 of 19 on 3-pointers.

The NBA’s top-rated defensive team, the Cavs came out looking to make everything difficult for the Heat offensively.

Miami had no early answers and started 2 of 10 from the floor with five turnovers in the first five minutes, but Butler scored 11 points in the quarter while helping his teammates settle in.

“We were disjointed at the beginning of the game, and I think Jimmy sensed that and went to work,” Spoelstra said.


Miami has been one of the league’s steadiest franchises, missing the playoffs just three times since 2008.

It’s a model Cleveland would like to follow.

Bickerstaff admires both the Heat’s consistency and ability to adapt. He credits Miami president Pat Riley and Spoelstra for leading the way.

“They have a philosophy and are flexible enough to change with the times and keep people wanting to be a part of it,” he said. “They have core values they believe in and then they do a great job of acquiring talent but finding talent in the cracks.

“Their best players aren’t always No. 1 picks. They have been able to work free agency, G League, later draft picks and turn it into talent because their player development staff is so good.”


Heat: Butler and Adebayo will likely be named All-Star reserves when the rosters are announced Thursday. Butler has been an All-Star six times, while Adebayo has only been selected once. … Adebayo has scored in double figures in all 47 games this season, and 63 in a row dating to last season. Only Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have had longer streaks in team history.

Cavaliers: G Ricky Rubio had eight points, five rebounds and five assists in 17 minutes. He’s beginning to look more comfortable after returning from knee surgery. … Kevin Love (back spasms) sat out his fourth consecutive game. … Mobley was chosen to play in the 2023 Jordan Rising Stars at All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City later this month.


Heat: At New York on Thursday.

Cavaliers: Host Memphis on Thursday.


AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Jimmy Butler scores 23 as Heat hold off Cavaliers 100-97