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Adebayo and Butler lift Heat over Clippers

Bam Adebayo delivered game-highs of 31 points and 10 rebounds while Jimmy Butler added 26 points to spark the Miami Heat over the Los Angeles Clippers 115-110 on Thursday.

Adebayo made 14-of-21 shots from the floor and contributed four assists while six-time NBA All-Star Butler added eight rebounds, five assists and four steals while scoring the Heat’s last eight points.

“We gave Jimmy the ball,” Adebayo said. “He’s our closer so we let him do his thing down the stretch.”

Adebayo, a 25-year-old center and member of last year’s US Olympic gold medal team, was a major reason Miami outscored the Clippers in the paint 58-32.

“Teammates want me to be assertive,” Adebayo said. “They want me to look for my shots. The biggest thing I can do is keep shooting.”

The Heat snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 12-14 overall, 10th in the Eastern Conference.

“Trying to dig ourselves out of a hole,” Adebayo said. “The biggest thing is we stand connected, stand together and keep waking up trying. We wake up and try to find solutions every day.”

Paul George led the Clippers with 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists but LA fell to 14-13, ninth in the Western Conference.

In a thriller at Portland, Jamal Murray sank a 3-pointer with 0.9 of a second remaining to give Denver a 121-120 victory over the host Trail Blazers.

The Nuggets, who snapped a three-game losing streak, were led by Nikola Jokic with 33 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists while Murray added 21 points.

Denver opened the fourth quarter with a 14-5 run to erase a 10-point deficit and the game hung on a knife’s edge to the finish.

Portland’s Damian Lillard scored 40 points, hitting 9-of-17 shots from 3-point range, and added 12 assists in a losing cause.

In a matchup of the two worst teams in the Western Conference, Keldon Johnson scored a game-high 32 points to lead the host San Antonio Spurs over the Houston Rockets 118-109.

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