MIAMI (AP) — Tyler Herro scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler got a triple-double in the game’s final moment and the Miami Heat held off the Toronto Raptors 104-99 on Monday night.
Bam Adebayo, in his first game back after missing six weeks following thumb surgery, scored 14 points and made a pair of free throws with 8.5 seconds remaining.
Butler finished with 19 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds — the last of those coming as time was expiring, when Fred VanVleet’s 3-point try missed.
“I’m just happy Jimmy got the triple-double and we got the win,” Adebayo said.
Gabe Vincent scored 15 points for Miami, which pulled into a virtual tie with Chicago for first in the Eastern Conference.
VanVleet finished with 22 points for Toronto, which got 23 from Chris Boucher and 18 points and 10 rebounds from Pascal Siakam. Scottie Barnes scored 16 points, OG Anunoby scored 14 and former Heat forward Precious Achiuwa grabbed 15 rebounds for Toronto.
Siakam scored off a turnover with 1:48 left to get Toronto within 99-96, but PJ Tucker made a corner 3 with 20 seconds left — off Butler’s 10th assist — to help Miami hold on.
The game was expected to be the first time that Heat guard Kyle Lowry faced the Raptors since leaving Toronto for Miami this past season. Lowry helped Toronto win the 2019 NBA title on his way to claiming to the unofficial moniker of GROAT — the Greatest Raptor Of All-Time.
Lowry missed the game for personal reasons.
“I wanted to see him, obviously,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “I guess I don’t know how I feel about it. I think that you go in here and you always want to compete against the best players. I was kind of looking forward to seeing what that was going to be like.”
Lowry missed a pretty good one.
There were 22 lead changes and 10 ties in the first 35 minutes, putting the teams knotted at 75-75 late in the third. Herro scored the last five points of the third quarter, then had the first bucket of the fourth to put Miami up by seven.
The Heat wouldn’t trail again. Anunoby made a 3-pointer with 6:57 left to get Toronto within two, but Miami scored the next seven points in a span of 59 seconds — a basket by Adebayo, a corner 3 from Max Strus and a driving layup by Caleb Martin for a 98-89 lead.
Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. (ankle) was listed as questionable and has been doing some on-court work but wound up missing his fifth consecutive game. … Khem Birch, who broke his nose and needed surgery last week, is likely to miss about two weeks. … Each of VanVleet’s first 10 shot attempts were 3-pointers. … Toronto used a 17th starting lineup of the season. The Raptors have had only four lineups start at least four games.
Heat: Chicago, Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Philadelphia — the teams that started Monday closest to Miami in the East standings — all lost on Monday. … Floyd Mayweather Jr., a regular at Heat games in recent years, sat courtside. … The Heat are 3-5 on Mondays this season. They’re 25-11 on all other days. … Adebayo wore a wrap to protect his repaired thumb. … Lowry’s next game will be the 1,000th regular season appearance of his career.
SEE YOU SOON
Monday’s game was the first of three Heat-Raptors meetings in a span of 16 days. The teams play again in Miami on Jan. 29 and then the Heat visit Toronto — potentially Lowry’s first game back since his departure — on Feb. 1. It’s unclear if fans will be back at Raptors games by then; Miami also visits Toronto on April 3.
With Adebayo back, it meant rookie center Omer Yurtseven was the odd man out in the Heat rotation. Yurtseven had averaged 11.6 points and 13.4 rebounds in his last 14 appearances, but didn’t play on Monday. Yurtseven’s 14-game streak of double-digit rebounds is the second-longest in the NBA this season behind Utah’s Rudy Gobert, who entered Monday with an 18-game streak of at least 10 rebounds.
RAPTORS AT MIDPOINT
Monday marked Toronto’s 41st game of the season — meaning all 30 NBA teams have now reached the midway point of their planned 82-game campaigns. The Raptors (21-20) are over .500 at the halfway mark for the eighth time in the last nine seasons, the exception being last season. “There’s been a lot of positives,” Nurse said.
Raptors: Visit Dallas on Wednesday.
Heat: Host Portland on Wednesday.