Heat 100, Magic 89

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MIAMI (AP)—The Miami Heat have broken out on offense just in time to make a push for the playoffs.

Miami reached 100 for the third consecutive game—all wins—in defeating the Orlando Magic 100-89 Tuesday night. The Heat had not scored 100 points in three straight games since the 1999-2000 season.

Reserve Rasual Butler scored 19 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, and Eddie Jones also scored 19 for the Heat.

“Our bench was very productive tonight,” Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Butler was one of only three reserves Van Gundy used against Orlando, Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade being the others. They combined for 37 points.

Wade, returning to the lineup after sitting out the previous three games with a foot injury, would have been in double figures if he hadn’t missed a breakaway dunk in the third quarter. He finished with nine points.

“I don’t know what happened,” Wade said. “I’ve never missed one like that.”

Butler, however, was not missing with his shots—especially in a productive fourth period when the Heat pulled away for good.

His 3-pointer with 58.2 seconds remaining put Miami ahead 95-84, securing the victory.

“I just tried to make sure I contribute somehow,” Butler said. “Tonight, I was more focused on the defensive end. I was just trying to make sure (Tracy) McGrady didn’t get any easy points.

With Butler defending him, McGrady scored only seven of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter.

“That guy scares me,” Van Gundy said of McGrady. “He’s as talented as any player in the league. I hate it when he’s on the court.”

Miami never trailed after Rafer Alston’s 3-pointer with 2:31 left in the first quarter put the Heat ahead, 24-22. Orlando tied it twice in the third quarter.

Brian Grant’s two free throws put Miami ahead 46-36 with 4:56 remaining in the second quarter for its biggest lead of the first half. The Magic cut it to 50-47 on McGrady’s 3-pointer with 1:53 remaining.

The Heat again took a 10-point lead on Grant’s field goal with 6:56 remaining in the third period before the Magic outscored the Heat 16-8 the rest of the quarter. Howard and Steven Hunter keyed the run with two field goals apiece.

“When we made our runs they were able to respond,” Magic forward Juwan Howard said.

“It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that we decided to dig in a little bit and made it more difficult for them to score,” Lamar Odom said. “We protected the lead.”

With the Heat unable to run, they opted for an interior presence. Although he shot 2-of-11 from the field, Odom finished with 16 points as he connected on 12 of 15 free throws.

“I didn’t shoot the ball well so I just got to the line and stayed on the glass and tried to create some plays.”

Miami outscored Orlando 35-15 from the free throw line.

“It wasn’t as if we weren’t taking it to the hole,” said Howard, who finished with 24 points. “You have to go talk to the three amigos (game officials).”

Said Magic coach Johnny Davis, “I hate to lay things out in terms of fouls, but they shot 20 more free throws than us. I thought we were aggressive on our offensive end but apparently they (officials) didn’t see it the same way.

“The only thing that bothered me tonight was the discrepancy of fouls.”

Notes

Brian Grant finished 16 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double performance in 10 games. … Jones has scored in double figures in 10 consecutive games, his second-best stretch this season. … The Magic are 4-29when allowing 100 or more points.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Orlando
T. McGrady T. McGrady
10-21,  26 Pts
5 Rebs, 8 Assists
 Miami
L. Odom L. Odom
2-11,  16 Pts
13 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists