LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Jimmy Butler does plenty of talking on the court to anyone who will listen: opponents, referees or teammates.
Luckily for the Miami Heat, on Tuesday Butler also listened.
Bam Adebayo has been imploring him to shoot 3-pointers, and Butler knocked down two big ones late in the fourth quarter to help the Heat pull away for a 113-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
“I yell at him all the time to shoot the ball,” Adebayo said of Butler, who hadn't made a 3-pointer since March 2.
“Tonight it just clicked where he listened to me and he made some big 3s.”
Butler scored 28 points and Goran Dragic had 24 for the Heat, who pulled away in the closing minutes, long after the Pacers had lost star guard Victor Oladipo to an eye injury.
Adebayo had 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who were just a little bit better in a mostly even matchup between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds, who were separated by a game in the standings in this pandemic-shortened season.
“I thought tonight we just didn’t play a 48-minute game,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said.