This time Heat in cruise control (no, really) in 138-119 rout of Grizzlies

An Easy Button? Who knew?

In a season of sweating just about every finish, the Miami Heat got something completely different Wednesday night at Miami-Dade Arena.

This time there was a 28-point lead at the end of the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies and no need to pad their already gaudy numbers of clutch and five-point games.

Just a 138-119 victory over an opponent lacking suspended guard Ja Morant.

So this time, Jimmy Butler had to play in attack mode for only three quarters, able to sit out the fourth after scoring 23.

This time, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro provided ample support, Adebayo with 26 points and eight rebounds, Herro with 24 points and six assists, both watching the finish from the comfort of the bench.

And this time Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love were able to establish footing as coach Erik Spoelstra works toward something closer to a playoff rotation.

It reached the point where there even was the comfort of a fourth-quarter “We Want Haslem!” chant for 42-year-old team captain Udonis Haslem. (He did not enter.)

The victory moved the Heat within two games of the No. 6 Brooklyn Nets in the race for the final automatic playoff seed in the Eastern Conference and three games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 7 seed, the top seed in the four-team play-in round, with 11 regular-season games left for the Heat.

The Heat are now idle until a weekend back-to-back road set on Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls and Sunday against the Detroit Pistons.

Five Degrees of Heat from Wednesday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 29-27 at the end of the first period, behind 14 points in the quarter by Butler, with the lead up to 63-51 at halftime and then 105-77 going into the fourth.

Unlike most recent games, the Heat this time …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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