Buttler's Heat too hot for LeBron's Lakers
Miami knew the run was coming. Even early in the fourth quarter, with a 23-point lead, Heat players were telling each other that the game wasn't over.
They were right. And they handled the moment to move to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Jimmy Butler broke LeBron James' record for triple-doubles in a Miami uniform, Duncan Robinson scored 25 points and the Heat held off a furious comeback attempt from the Los Angeles Lakers on the way to a 113-107 home win on Sunday night.
"I think those are important experiences to go through together," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Butler finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for Miami -- his 10th regular-season triple-double for the Heat -- one more than James had in his four Miami seasons.
Miami (30-17) pushed their lead out to 23 points with 8:38 left, then had to stave off what became a 32-13 run that got Los Angeles within four in the final moments.
James carried LA yet again, finishing with 33 points -- his 17th consecutive game with at least 26 -- and 11 rebounds.
"In the fourth quarter we played the type of basketball we want to play, but we dug ourselves too much of a hole early in the game," James said after the Lakers dropped to 23-24.
Australia's Patty Mills scored 21 points - including five triples - and Kyrie Irving a game-high 30 points, but the Brooklyn Nets suffered a 136-125 loss at the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Anthony Edwards had 25 points, including four from beyond the arc to become the youngest player in NBA history to amass 300 three-pointers at 20 years and 171 days.
Brookyln (29-17) are half-a-game behind Miami but half-a-game ahead of Chicago (28-17) after the Bulls were shock 114-95 losers at the league's worst Orlando Magic.
In a battle between Western Conference big guns, Jordan Poole scored 20 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 94-92 home win over the Utah Jazz.
Stephen Curry added 13 points, going 1 for 13 from deep and only 5 of 20 overall, while Aussie Joe Ingles had 10 points for the beaten Jazz (30-17).
"That's how you've got to win when you're scuffling a little bit ... Really proud of the team," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after his side improved to 34-13.
In Washington, Jayson Tatum scored 51 points -- 48 of them in the first three quarters -- and the Boston Celtics breezed to a 116-87 win over the Washington Wizards.
Joel Embiid had 38 points and 12 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers held off a late rally to beat the San Antonio Spurs 115-109.
It was Embiid's 14th straight game with at least 25 points.
"What he's doing is special," Sixers forward Tobias Harris said.
Luka Doncic had 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Mavericks (27-20) defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 104-91 in Dallas for their 11th victory in their last 13 games.
Elsewhere, there were wins for the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks, and New York Knicks.
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