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Butler nets 32 points as Heat roll over Hornets, James makes strong return for Lakers

Elsewhere, LeBron James returned from a two-game injury absence to score 26 points for the LA Lakers.

Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat (file photo)
Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat (file photo)
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

JIMMY BUTLER SCORED 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Bam Adebayo had 26 points, as the Miami Heat stretched their winning streak to three straight games with a 114-99 win over Charlotte Hornets on Friday.

Adebayo added 19 rebounds, and Tyler Herro came off the bench to score 26 for the Heat in the battle between the NBA’s top defensive team (Miami) against the top offensive club. The Hornets came into the game averaging 121 points per game.

“The IQ level of this team is very high,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We have experienced, savvy guys, but guys who can read situations in real time. That matters in this league.”

Gordon Hayward scored a team high of 23 points and Miles Bridges scored 22 for the Hornets in front of a crowd of 19,600 at FTX Arena in Miami.

The Hornets were missing Terry Rozier, who is out with an injured ankle.

Hornets’ forward P.J. Washington returned Friday night after missing two games with a sprained right knee. He had nine points in 22 minutes off the bench.

The Hornets’ LaMelo Ball struggled, as the reigning NBA rookie of the year finished with just six points on two-of-14 shooting.

“It’s one of 82. We’ll learn from it. We’ll respond,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “I saw a lot of fight tonight.”

Elsewhere, LeBron James returned from a two-game injury absence to score 26 points and dish out eight assists as the Los Angeles Lakers beat his old team the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-101.

James, who made just one of 10 three-point attempts, missed two games with a sore right ankle.

Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and Russell Westbrook finished with 19 points for the Lakers, who halted the Cavaliers’ three-game winning streak.

The Lakers, who won for the third time in four games, took control down the stretch with Anthony hitting three three-pointers in front of a crowd of 19,100 at Staples Center.

Rookie Evan Mobley led the Cavaliers with 23 points.

In Toronto, rookie Scottie Barnes scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Toronto Raptors edged the Orlando Magic 110-109.

Fred VanVleet scored 16 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for the Raptors, who have defeated the Magic nine straight times dating back to 2019. Barnes scored 19 points in the first half alone.

Gary Trent also had 19 points while OG Anunoby tallied 16 as the Raptors completed a four-game homestand by going 2-2.

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The Magic trailed by 12 points with two minutes remaining but scored the final 11 points of the contest and had a shot to win in the final second, but Cole Anthony misfired on a jump shot.

Anthony scored 24 points for the Magic, who have lost five of six.

Mo Bamba added 14 points with 18 rebounds and Jalen Suggs scored 21 points, while Wendell Carter had 17 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.

In Portland, Damian Lillard scored 25 points and Jusuf Nurkic added 14 points and 17 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers breezed to a 111-92 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

CJ McCollum had 14 points as the Trail Blazers won consecutive games for the first time this season and avenged a 30-point loss earlier in the week.

James Harden broke out of his slump by finishing with 29 points, eight assists and eight rebounds and the Brooklyn Nets overcame a sluggish start to record a 105-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers in New York.

© – AFP, 2021

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