MIAMI (AP) — Jimmy Butler’s three-point game by 12.9 seconds capped an NBA-record performance by the Miami Heat and gave them a 112-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
Butler’s free throw made the Heat 40 to 40 from the foul line and broke Utah’s 39-to-39 mark against Portland on December 7, 1982.
Butler was 23-23 from the line, tying for the second most clean-shooting marks in NBA history. James Harden recorded 24 clean shots for Houston on December 3, 2019 and Dirk Nowitzki recorded 24 clean shots for Dallas on May 17, 2011 in a playoff game against The Thunder. Dominique Wilkins also scored 23-23 in one game in 1992.
And Miami needed every bit of Butler’s perfection—along with everyone else’s.
Butler had 35 points for Miami, who had fielded just eight players and were down to seven when Dewayne Dedmon was ejected in the second quarter.
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Max Strus scored 22 points and Victor Oladipo had 19 for Miami. The Heat was absent Tuesday without four regular starters – Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and Caleb Martin – as well as reserves Duncan Robinson, Omer Yurtseven and Nikola Jovic, all through injuries.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 26 points for the Thunder. Josh Giddey had a triple-double – 18 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.
Giddey hit the triple-double with an assist that set up Aaron Wiggins’ dunk for a 111-106 lead by 1:28.
Miami scored the last six points.
Miami led 89-88 into the fourth, and with Butler on the bench – he’d played all of the third quarter – the Thunder took advantage. They scored the first six points of the final period and took a lead by more than three points for the first time when Tre Mann connected with a knight at 9:20 for a 94:89 lead.
But six-point possession gave Miami the lead back. Oladipo made a steal and Thunder center Eugene Omoruyi was called for a clear path foul. Oladipo made both free throws, and with Miami’s continued possession, Gabe Vincent made a 3-pointer while being fouled by Mann. Vincent made the free throw and a 96:91 deficit was a 97:96 lead.
Donner: Oklahoma City went 18-23 at halftime this season. Even without injured No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren, it’s progress — the Thunder were 15-21 midway through their 72-game season two years ago and 14-27 midway through last season. … Gilgeous-Alexander had 15 of his points in the final 6:26 of the second quarter after having just two points earlier.
Heat: Udonis Haslem was the only available Heat player who didn’t come into play. … Orlando Robinson started at center for Adebayo, becoming the 13th player to start for Miami this season and the 202nd to start a game in team history.
Oklahoma City used their 20th starting lineup of the season in 41 games. Miami capitalized on his 18th in 42 games.
“I think there’s a hidden advantage to having some instability in your rotations and in your lineups,” said Thunder coach Mark Daigneault. “It’s forcing your own team to become very adaptable and really not making excuses … and I think it’s going to be difficult to adapt to that.”
Thunder: In Philadelphia on Thursday evening.
Heat: host Milwaukee on Thursday night.