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Heat push past absence of Butler, shove aside Magic 115-106 behind Herro’s 28

ORLANDO – The Miami Heat showed the ability to play quality ball against a quality opponent Monday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic, they did it again.

The difference from that disheartening home loss two days earlier was that this time the Heat sustained long enough.

After again thrusting to a sizable early lead, the Heat this time kept the pedal on the gas long enough to push to a 115-106 victory at Kia Center, with only a window-dressing rally by the Magic at the finish.

With Jimmy Butler and Kevin Love sidelined, Tyler Herro seized control for the Heat, closing with 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

In shooting 4 of 5 on 3-pointers, Herro was part of a sizzle that saw the Heat go 15 of 29 from beyond the arc, as opposed to the Magic’s 9 of 36.

After early foul trouble, Bam Adebayo took care of the inside story for the Heat, with 18 points and seven rebounds.

The Heat also got 15 points from Haywood Highsmith and apiece 12 from Josh Richardson, Duncan Robinson and Thomas Bryant.

A two-game homestand now follows, Friday against the Atlanta Hawks and then Christmas night Monday at Kaseya Center against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Five Degrees of Heat from Wednesday night’s game:

1. Game flow: The Heat led 25-24 at the end of the first period and 68-50 at halftime, after scoring 43 in the second period

The Heat closed the first half without a miss from the field over the final 6:43, making their final 12 shots of the second quarter.

The Heat’s lead then grew to 22 in the third period, before they moved into the fourth up 89-72.

At a point the Heat typically rest Butler, this time it was Herro that got the rest at the top of the fourth.

Herro returned with 7:24 to play and the Heat up 98-80, with the end of the Magic bench polishing the score of a game no longer in doubt.

2. Rotation reshuffle: With Butler out with a calf strain, Jaime Jaquez Jr. was given his fifth start, as the Heat rolled out their 16th starting lineup in their 28 games.

The rest of the revised opening unit was Herro, Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and Caleb Martin.

Herro was playing in his second game back after missing the previous 18 with an ankle sprain. Adebayo was in his second game back after missing seven with a hip contusion. Lowry was back after being given Monday against the Timberwolves off for rest.

The Heat had opened Monday against the Timberwolves with a lineup of Adebayo, Butler, Martin, Herro and Kevin Love.

Love was out Wednesday with a stomach illness, with Bryant playing as the first Heat big man off the bench.

3. Early again: After scoring 17 points in the first half Monday against the Timberwolves, Herro this time had 10 of the Heat’s first 20 points. Herro also had three of the Heat’s seven first-quarter  assists.

Herro was up to 19 points at halftime, at that stage 7 of 11 from the field and 3 of 4 on 3-pointers.

Unlike some of his previous high-volume offensive games, this time Herro’s shots were largely measured, mostly in the flow.

4. Role reversal: The Magic made it apparent early they were willing to allow Highsmith all the 3-pointers he wanted as long as Robinson wasn’t taking them.

Highsmith stood at 4 of 7 from beyond the arc at halftime, when the Heat were 11 of 18. Robinson converted his lone first-half 3-point attempt, but still had 10 points at the intermission, playing more in attack mode.

The Heat outscored the Magic 33-9 on 3-pointers in the first half.

5. Foul start: Adebayo was forced to the bench with his third foul with 7:19 left in the second period, forcing the return of Bryant.

At one point fourth string at center behind Adebayo, Love and Orlando Robinson, Bryant in his 11 first-half minutes had eight points and four rebounds, compared to Adebayo with six points and two rebounds in his 13 first-half minutes.

Adebayo then came out with an aggressive bent to start the fourth, as Herro watched from the bench.

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