Miami Heat of America’s in-from youngster, Bam Adebayo settled for third-fiddle impact behind two of his teammates, as Kendrick Nunn netted 27 points and Jimmy Butler hit 24 plus eight rebounds in their side’s 96-94 victory away to Los Angeles Lakers.
Saturday’s game was a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals, but Adebayo found the going tough, as he settled for only 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Duncan Robinson chipped in 11 points with 10 rebounds in a sixth victory out of nine for The Heat.
Kyle Kuzma had 23 points and LeBron James (7-for-21 from the field) added 19 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, who have dropped three of their last four contests. Montrezl Harrell hit 7 of 12 shots from the field to finish with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 11 points.
Lakers guard Dennis Schroder missed his second straight game due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, while All-Star forward Anthony Davis sat out his fourth consecutive game while he remains out with a right Achilles tendon injury.
Both teams struggled in the fourth quarter. They combined for only 32 points. But two free throws by Butler with 12.4 seconds left were the difference.
Minutes before, a three-point play by Kuzma allowed the Lakers to cut the Heat’s lead to 94-92 with 1:28 remaining. After Robinson was called for an offensive foul with an elbow to face of Caldwell-Pope with 25 seconds remaining, Wes Matthews misfired on a 3-point attempt with 16.6 seconds left.
After Butler’s free throws gave the Heat a four-point advantage, Matthews converted a layup to slice the gap to two with 8.4 seconds left. But Alex Caruso, who failed to score in 20 minutes, missed a 3-pointer before the final horn.
Elsewhere, Bradley Beal recorded 37 points and seven rebounds to lead the Washington Wizards to a 118-111 victory away to Portland Trail Blazers, while Russell Westbrook recorded 27 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds for his eighth triple-double of the season as Washington extended its season-best winning streak to four games.
Rui Hachimura had 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals and Robin Lopez contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds for The Wizards, while Damian Lillard scored 29 of his 35 points in the second half and had 12 assists for Portland, which saw its season-high six-game winning streak halted.
Enes Kanter registered 19 points and 13 rebounds, Gary Trent Jr. scored 16, Robert Covington added 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots and Derrick Jones Jr. had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Trail Blazers.
Beal and Hachimura scored baskets and Davis Bertans knocked down a 3-pointer during a 7-0 run to give Washington a 110-101 lead with 2:18 remaining.
Lillard was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and made all three with two minutes left. But Hachimura and Westbrook answered with baskets to push the lead to 114-104 with 1:09 remaining and the Wizards closed it out.