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Heat shut down Warriors late, prevail 116-109

The Warriors couldn’t overcome the challenge of the Miami’s Heat’s defense, or a successful replay challenge late.

Golden State Warriors v Miami Heat
Sadly, Jimmy Butler didn’t try to fight Erik Spoelstra in either of the Heat’s games with the Warriors.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Jimmy Butler’s Big Face Coffee is cash-only. Maybe the Golden State Warriors are too into cryptocurrency, because they couldn’t buy a bucket or a coffee down the stretch in a 116-109 loss to the Miami Heat.

With 5:07 remaining, Steph Curry hit a three-pointer to put the Dubs up 107-104, part of his 23-point triple-double - he finished with 13 assists and 13 rebounds.

But the Warriors would make only one basket the rest of the way, an Andrew Wiggins stepback with 2:07 to go. When Jimmy Butler made a three-point play with 1:48 to go, the Heat went up 112-109, setting up Chef Curry for heroics. And it almost happened.

With two timeouts and a challenge remaining, Erik Spoelstra decided to challenge the three-shot foul. Even Butler admitted he thought it was a foul, until Kyle Lowry explained the rule to him on the sidelines - that slapping Curry’s hand didn’t matter since he touched the ball first.

Curry called it an “awful call,” but as expected, the league office backed up the referees, dismissing it as “high five” contact.

The Warriors kept their defense steady, and Klay Thompson got two chances at a game-tying three-pointer, but the shots both missed. Finally Butler dribbled in, faked Klay Thompson, and then leaned in for a game-sealing basket.

Butler finished with 23 points and eight assists, and was a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. Bam Adebayo had 19 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, while Kyle Lowry had nine assists alongside his 13 points and one clutch rules interpretation. Adebayo’s biggest play was a chasedown block of Jordan Poole in the second quarter.

Poole had a rough evening, shooting 1-7 from behind the arc, putting up a -23 plus/minus, and turning the ball over five times. Three of them were traveling violations for “carrying” the ball. The first two were called at least 40 feet away from the basket, and the last one sparked quite a reaction from Poole.

Let’s focus on the meme-able portion of that clip.

What was strange was how the whistles came when Poole wasn’t particularly gaining an advantage with the carries. Draymond Green took issue with Poole being singled out by the referees here.

After the third carrying call, Miami went on a 10-0 run, featuring two of Duncan Robinson’s three 4th quarter three-pointers. Robinson scored 17 points and fellow reserve Max Strus went for 24, and the two combined to shoot 9-18 from behind the arc. That’s as many triples as Curry, Thompson, and Poole hit combined, in eleven more attempts.

The Warriors gave up 33 points in the first quarter, continuing their sloppy defensive starts. It’s becoming repetitive to say this, but their bench once again got rolled. JaMychal Green and Moses Moody entered the game with the Warriors up 21-14, James Wiseman missed s dunk, and the Heat went on a 6-0 run. Ty Jerome came in for Curry, and the Heat closed the quarter 13-3 against the all-bench lineup. That’s a 19-3 run in the final four minutes.

Andrew Wiggins stabilized the Warriors in the second quarter, along with Kevon Looney, and kept the Warriors afloat with 14 first-half points. He finished with 21 points on 8-12 shooting, plus five assists and two blocks. Wiggins made both his shots in the third quarter, when the Warriors started to look like their championship selves again.

Klay Thompson hit a three - take that Charles Barkley - and then he got a three-point play two minutes later.

Then Curry went into Super Wardell Mode. First, a three from the FTX Arena logo.

Then a mix tape pass finding Wiggins for three.

It was an impressive run, and one that the Heat threatened to wipe away when the Warriors bench came back in. But Moses Moody hit two huge threes late.

Ultimately, the Warriors’ shooting failed them late, when they kept trying to shoot over Miami’s zone. As a team, they were 3-15 from deep in the final quarter, which could have been tired legs but was probably bad shot selection. Of their 21 field goal attempts, 15 of them were threes - and a lot of them were not great.

The Warriors get a day off before traveling to Orlando Thursday, meaning the Magic won’t reap the benefits of catching a team after a night in Miami. Golden State falls to 3-5 on the season, 0-3 on the road trip, and remain winless away from home.

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