NBA roundup: Butler and Tatum deliver game-winning performances for Heat and Celtics
Miami, Florida - It was not Jimmy Butler's best offensive game of the season, but he was crucial in their narrow 113-112 home win against the Phoenix Suns on Monday.
The Suns led 102-89 with just eight minutes remaining, before Heat center Bam Adebayo took over, scoring 12 points to ignite a 24-10 run to close the contest.
Adebayo's two free throws with 35 seconds on the clock gave the Heat the lead, but an offensive rebound on the Suns' next possession would give Devin Booker a chance to win the game.
Pulling up from mid-range, Booker was blanketed by five-time NBA All-Defensive selection Butler for a game-winning blocked shot.
Adebayo led the way scoring the ball for Miami, finishing with a game-high 30 points on nine-of-18 shooting and 10 rebounds, but Butler was doing everything else, chipping in 13 rebounds, seven assists, a steal, and the decisive block to go with his 16 points (five-of-12 shooting).
Booker played well for the Suns, posting a team-high 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting with eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals, while Duane Washington Jr. caught fire off the bench for 21 points (eight-of-14) in 19 minutes.
The win pulls the Heat's record even at 7-7, while the Suns are still in a good position at 8-5.
Around the league
Jayson Tatum flashed incredible defensive ability in the Boston Celtics' 126-122 come-from-behind win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Young Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his ridiculous start to the season, eclipsing 30 points for the ninth time in 14 games. He had 37 points on 13-of-26 shooting with eight assists, raising his averages to 31.1 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 54.3% from the field.
But Tatum and running-mate Jaylen Brown were too much in the fourth quarter, leading a 37-26 final frame to swing the game in their favor. Tatum had 27 points on nine-of-23 shooting, but he was even better defensively, snatching three steals and blocking three shots.
A second-round pick from the 2021 NBA Draft, Toronto Raptors point-forward Dalano Banton was tremendous in his side's 115-111 triumph on the road against the Detroit Pistons.
In his first start of the season due to Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Gary Trent Jr. all missing through injuries, the six-foot-seven Banton scored a game-high 27 points on nine-of-16 shooting, adding four rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks in his 25 minutes.
The Raptors are now 8-7, and will be considered a threat in the Eastern Conference once fully healthy.
Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS