Heat push past Wizards, 112-97, in Herro’s absence, move into first-place tie

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra looks on against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half at FTX Arena on Oct. 29, 2021, in Miami. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images/TNS)
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Ira Winderman South Florida Sun Sentinel (TNS)

MIAMI — This time there wasn’t the flash of Tyler Herro, the sizzle of a barrage of 3-point shots, anything close to a triple-double.

Just a statement made to the team at the top of the East.

Or what was the top team.

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The Miami Heat are coming, with the winning streak now at four with Thursday’s 112-97 victory at FTX Arena over the Washington Wizards, the team that entered the night leading the conference.

With the victory, the Heat moved to 11-5, tied atop the East with the Brooklyn Nets.

A night after filling the box score with a triple-double against the New Orleans Pelicans, Heat forward Jimmy Butler was simply offensive, closing with 32 points.

There also were 20 points and nine rebounds from center Bam Adebayo, eight points and a season-high 12 assists from point guard Kyle Lowry, the bench boost of 18 points from Gabe Vincent, and a complementary 15 points from P.J. Tucker.

With Herro given the night off to rest a sore wrist, the Heat got Adebayo back from a two-game knee-soreness absence and Lowry back after a night off for rest.

The Wizards got 30 points from Bradley Beal.

The teams meet again Saturday in Washington.

Five Degrees of Heat from Thursday night’s game:

1. Still going: A night after recording his eighth Heat triple-double, Butler put his first-half focus on attacking, at 6 of 6 from the line over the opening two periods, with 14 points at the intermission.

The Wizards, by contrast, opened with a more perimeter-based approach, at 1 of 4 from the line in the first half.

Butler consistently provided relief points when the Wizards trimmed what had been an 18-point Heat lead in the third period.

2. The Herro role: With Herro out, Vincent stepped into his minutes and created 10 of the Heat’s 26 second-quarter points with his scoring and passing.

His first 3-pointer ended the Heat’s 0-for-7 start from beyond the arc, later following up a 3-point miss with an emphatic dunk, one that had Adebayo flexing while seated on the bench.

Vincent was a game-best +10 in the first half, continuing to offer support in the second half, as well.

3. Post presence: Adebayo took a measured approach with his aggression, draining several mid-range floaters before moving more into attack mode.

Once he had the Wizards’ attention, he then fired a crosscourt laser to P.J. Tucker for a third-quarter 3-pointer that put the Heat up 61-48.

4. Tucker, too: Hardly known for his offense, Tucker consistently moved into prime shooting position, following up his 13 points against the Pelicans by reaching double figures in scoring for a second consecutive game for the first time as a member of the Heat.

Prior to Wednesday night, Tucker had three double-figure games in his first 14 games with the Heat.

He closed 6 of 7 from the field, 3 of 3 on 3-pointers.

5. Rough go: Duncan Robinson closed the first half 0 for 5 on 3-pointers, his only attempts in his 15 minutes to that stage.

Robinson finished the half without a point, rebound or assist, although he did have two early steals.

After falling to 0 for 6 from the field, Robinson then got on the scoreboard with a 3-pointer with 6:42 left in the third period extending his franchise record to 64 consecutive games with at least one conversion.

His night ended 2 of 8 on 3-pointers, with the Heat 10 of 26 from beyond the arc.

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