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Bulls get balanced scoring in win over struggling Lakers

Dec 28, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots around Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson (55) during the first half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler scored 27 points, Bam Adebayo added 23 points and 14 rebounds, and the Miami Heat handed the visiting Los Angeles Lakers their fifth loss in the last six games 112-98 on Wednesday.

Butler and Adebayo both returned to the lineup after missing Miami’s win Monday over Minnesota – Butler from a sprained ankle and Adebayo from an illness – to shoot a combined 21-of-34 from the floor.

Butler finished 11 of 18, despite missing all four of his 3-point attempts, while Adebayo went 10 of 16.

Their efforts paced all five Heat starters to double-figures scoring, joining Tyler Herro with 18 points, Caleb Martin with 13, and Gabe Vincent with 12.

Miami led for most of the contest, its advantage swelling to as many as 22 points in the third quarter.

For the second time in as many games, the Heat endured poor overall shooting from 3-point range at 31.4 percent. Aside from Herro’s 3 of 7 and Martin’s 3 of 4 from beyond the arc, the rest of the Miami roster went just 5 of 24.

The Heat compensated with stifling defense, however, forcing Los Angeles into 24 turnovers. Butler led the defensive effort with five steals, while Victor Oladipo added three swipes. Herro and Vincent each contributed two.

Miami also flexed its muscle on the glass and in the lane, outscoring the Lakers 19-9 on second-chance points and 52-40 for points in the paint.

LeBron James matched Butler for a game-high of 27 points, and also added nine rebounds with six assists, but committed six turnovers. Dennis Schroder and Russell Westbrook each scored 15 points, with Westbrook dishing a team-high eight assists.

Troy Brown Jr. shot 5 of 6 off the bench for 14 points in the loss, as Los Angeles fell to 1-2 on its current, five-game road swing, and fell to 2-5 since Anthony Davis left the lineup with a stress injury to his right foot.

–Field Level Media