Jimmy Butler leads Heat past Jae’Sean Tate, Rockets on New Year’s Eve

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Jimmy Butler was questionable going into Friday with a right ankle sprain, but the five-time All-Star played through the pain and lifted his Miami Heat to a 120-110 road victory (box score) at Houston’s Toyota Center to spoil the New Year’s Eve home game for the Rockets.

Butler scored a game-high 37 points on 12-of-21 shooting (57.1%), including 11-of-11 on free throws and 2-of-3 on 3-pointers (66.7%). Reserve guard Kyle Guy added 17 points and 4 assists on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range (66.7%) — with nearly all coming in the first half.

That helped Miami (23-13) build a 25-point buffer in the second quarter, and while Houston (10-26) cut the lead to as little as 5 in the fourth, getting completely over the hump proved too much to ask.

In his first game since returning from a stint in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Jae’Sean Tate led the Rockets with 22 points and 7 rebounds, shooting 9-of-15 from the field (60.0%) and 2-of-3 on 3-pointers (66.7%). Big man Christian Wood added 18 points (8-of-14 shooting, 57.1%), 8 rebounds, and 4 assists for Houston, while rookie Jalen Green scored 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting (45.5%) in 28 minutes.

Fellow rookie Alperen Sengun left the game early with a right ankle sprain, though head coach Stephen Silas said postgame that he did not yet have an update about whether he would miss games moving forward.

The Rockets, who now enter 2022 looking to snap a six-game losing streak, will play the second end of a home New Year’s back-to-back on Saturday — with tipoff versus Denver set for 7:00 p.m. CST at Toyota Center. Until then, scroll on for Friday’s highlights and postgame reaction.

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Highlights

Stephen Silas

Christian Wood

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