Rozier, Adebayo help Heat outlast Wizards, move closer to sixth-place Indiana

WASHINGTON (AP) — Terry Rozier III scored 27 points, Bam Adebayo had 22 and the Miami Heat grinded out a 119-107 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday night.

Jimmy Butler added 17 points for the Heat, who won their second straight. Miami, seventh in the Eastern Conference, went 25 for 29 from the free throw line to move within a half-game of Indiana in the race to avoid the NBA Play-In Tournament.

Despite reaching the NBA Finals from the No. 7 seed last season, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said there's every reason to chase as high a position as possible.

“We're going for it. That's who we are,” Spoelstra said. “And if we see opportunity in front of us, that's what we're going for.”

Miami will play three teams grappling for East playoff position in its next four games, beginning with New York at home on Tuesday.

“We can't worry about the next four, we've got to worry about the next one,” Adebayo said. “Both teams got something to lose at the end of the day. So there's going to be a little more edge.”

Jordan Poole scored 22 points and Marvin Bagley III had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Washington on a night Wizards leading scorer Kyle Kuzma sat out with a bruised right heel. Anthony Gill tied a career high with 18 points for the Wizards, who have lost three in a row following a season-high three-game win streak.

Miami hit seven 3-pointers — half of their total makes all game — to take control during a 24-7 run that stretched across halftime. Rozier hit the final two before the interval, the second giving the Heat a 66-59 edge at the break, their largest lead to that point.

“That's what he's for, to be that spark, that light when we need him,” Adebayo said of Rozier, who scored 20 of his points before halftime. “And obviously he runs the team well.”

Duncan Robinson hit two more 3s early in the third in his first game after missing five with ongoing back issues. And after Rozier and Nikola Jovic added two more 3s the lead had grown to 78-62.

Butler scored five straight points in the fourth on a dunk from a back-door cut and then a three-point play to restore Miami's lead to 112-97, after the Wizards briefly cut the deficit down to 10.

“We'll take them literally however we can get them at this point,” Spoelstra said of the win. “In the second half, when we were able to get some consecutive defensive stops and push it to a double-digit lead, that was the first time we were really able to create some separation and keep it there. And that was encouraging to see.”

UP NEXT

Heat: Host New York on Tuesday night.

Wizards: Host Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

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