Jimmy Butler, returning from a three-game injury absence, had game highs with 19 points, 11 rebounds and four steals to lead the Miami Heat to a 114-92 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night near Orlando.
Butler, who also had five assists in 29 minutes, had been out with a sore right foot. His return helped the Heat (44-27) take sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Indiana (43-28) started the night tied with Miami.
The teams were also tied at halftime, but the Heat led by as many as 18 points in an explosive third quarter and cruised from there, cooling Pacers star T.J. Warren off along the way.
Warren entered Monday as the league’s top scorer in the restart, averaging an impressive 34.8 points on 60.5 percent shooting from the floor and 55.6 percent on 3-point attempts. But Miami held him to 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting, including 2-for-6 on 3-point attempts.
Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 14 points.
Miami guard Goran Dragic, who had missed the past two games due to a sprained left ankle, returned with 11 points and a game-high nine assists in 30 minutes.
The Heat, however, were still without starting guard Kendrick Nunn, who left the NBA bubble for personal reasons last week and will now have to quarantine for three more days.
Indiana continues to play without 2020 All-Star center Domantas Sabonis, who has not played in the restart due to a foot injury.
Miami led the entire first quarter, building a 12-point lead before settling for a 23-19 advantage by the end of the period.
Indiana took its first lead of the game, 47-44, on Oladipo’s 3-pointer with 1:18 left in the second quarter, and the teams went into halftime tied 48-48.
But Warren went 0-for-3 and scoreless in the third quarter as Miami finished the period on top, 85-71, and the game was essentially over.
For the game, the Heat shot 44.9 percent from the floor while the Pacers were much cooler (39.3 percent). Miami outscored Indiana in the paint, 56-40. The Heat also muscled its way to a 59-45 rebounding advantage.
–Field Level Media