MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) — Jimmy Butler scored 26 points, Bam Adebayo had 22 points with 13 rebounds and three assists, and the Miami Heat bounced back to beat the San Antonio Spurs 111-101 on Saturday. Mexican capital.
The Heat took off early in the fourth quarter and jumped out to 10-point leads on several occasions, using their defense to limit the Spurs, who had to rely on free throws to get close to the scoreboard. With the win on Mexican soil, Miami extended its winning streak to four.
Butler missed a free throw in the third quarter that could have tied the game, but found his target with 4:42 left in the game and extended the Heat’s lead to 107–97.
It was a happy ending rematch for Miami after losing 115–111 to San Antonio on December 10.
Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 22 points. Devin Vassell had 18 points, three rebounds and two assists.
The Spurs relinquished the lead only once in the third quarter, when a Duncan Robinson shot put the Heat up 75–74. Less than a minute later, San Antonio took over the game on a basket by Jeremy Sochan.
With 1:23 left in the third quarter, Butler had a chance to bring his team closer after being fouled, but he missed one of his two free throws and the Heat fell within one point. With 0.3 left to play, Vassell missed both of his free throws to give his team an 84–80 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Heat led 20–12 with 3:30 remaining in the first quarter. However, the Spurs went on a 19-point run with no answers from Miami to take the lead, and despite the Heat leading 28–23 with 51 seconds left, San Antonio led 28–25 in the first inning. Finished it.
Both teams traded leads eight times during the second quarter, and the Spurs held a 55–52 lead at halftime.
After a two-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA returned to Mexico City to celebrate its 31st game in its 11th regular season on Mexican soil.
Mexico is one of the top five NBA markets outside the United States. The league has around 30 million fans in Mexico.