Heat beats Magic, moves six games above .500 at 50-game mark: Takeaways and details

Takeaways from the Heat’s 110-105 win against the Orlando Magic on Friday at Miami-Dade Arena:

The Heat on Friday reached the 50-game mark of its season in a position that it wasn’t necessarily sure it would reach before February: six games above .500.

That normally wouldn’t be anything remarkable for this franchise, but it’s at least something in a season that has been a slog, with a 7-11 start and a bunch of bad losses.

“To be six games over .500 is a very, very good feeling,” Jimmy Butler said.

Miami got there by rallying from an eight-point deficit early in the fourth. The Heat scored a season-high 37 points in the fourth quarter, but its defensive effort was equally significant.

After Orlando scored 31 and 28 points in the first two quarters, the Heat held the Magic to 20 and 26 in the final two quarters. Miami forced 20 turnovers, leading to 32 Heat points.

“We’re gearing up to be the No. 1 defense in the league,” Bam Adebayo said.

Miami ended the night sixth in the East at 28-22.

The Heat got 29 points from Butler, including seven in the final two minutes.

Butler’s first points of the fourth quarter were huge: a driving layup and foul that put Miami up 102-98 with 1:29 left.

His second basket of the fourth was even bigger: a downhill floater to put the Heat ahead 106-101 with 34 seconds to go.

Adebayo added 20 points and 7 assists and 6 rebounds, including a layup with just under three minutes left, following an Adebayo block on the other end. He also hit two free throws to put the Heat ahead 104-98 with 58 seconds left.

Butler said Adebayo “better be” picked by coaches for the All Star game.

“Offensively, we’re at our best when they’re attacking,” Erik Spoelstra said. “I trust both to make plays. They’re so poised. Jimmy was so aggressive tonight, and in those swing moments, Jimmy created that separation.”

Miami entered 7-7 at home against teams that entered Friday with a losing record. Make it 8-7 after Friday.

“We were grinding,” Spoelstra said. “They’re extremely talented. You can’t judge them by their overall record [19-30]. We knew we would have to do a lot of things right and weather a few storms.

“Our guys love how that feels, a possession game in the final six minutes,” Spoelstra said. “We have a lot of gamers. We have a lot of competitive gamers that live for those moments that don’t always play. Being in so many of these games, at least we don’t panic and get sick at sea when there are some emotional turns going either way.”

Miami got big contributions from Gabe Vincent and Max Strus.

Vincent (11 points) hit two threes early in the fourth to pull the Heat out of an 81-73 hole early in the quarter. He was a steadying presence again in the fourth quarter, on both ends.

“Gabe was really good tonight,” Spoelstra said. “His activity level and his voice is really important to our team. If you do the right things defensively over and over, it translates to a karma that you can’t put an analytic to on the other end.”

Strus hit his first four three-pointers and scored eight of his 17 in the fourth quarter. He closed 5 for 7 on threes.

Strus entered shooting only 33 percent on three pointers. But he saw this turnaround coming.

In a moment after practice Thursday, Strus said: “I’m starting to get over the hump. The tides are going to turn. You’ve got to ride the waves all year. There are a lot of ups and downs. You have to stay positive through it all, continue to do what’s gotten me here.”

Spoelstra said: “Max has been playing well as a basketball player to put us in position to win some games. I know everyone wants to make it about his three point shooting but he’s a lot more than that. In our zone, he was very good and creating every good trigger with catch and shoots. That was some of our best actions.”

Spoelstra admires the mental fortitude of Strus and Vincent, who have fought through adversity this season.

“It’s never going to be smooth sailing, even for people when everything is laid out for them,” Spoelstra said. “Sometimes, you’re going to hit some rough seas. You have to be emotionally stable to contribute to winning.”

Credit Caleb Martin, who made a big impact as he continues to play through a quadriceps injury.

He was disruptive defensively - particularly in the fourth - and added six of his 13 points in the final quarter.

“He ignited us, doing a lot of things defensively, activity in the zone, his closeouts, got his hands on a couple of balls,” Spoelstra said.

Martin scored on driving layups on consecutive possessions in transition, the second of which left Miami ahead 92-87 with just over six minutes left.

Martin had one of the defensive plays of the game, blocking a Markelle Fultz layup with the Heat ahead by three and 3:50 left. Then he had a big driving layup to put the Heat up four with two minutes to go.

Martin said the quadriceps injury has affected his mobility and made him “slower,” but Friday was the best he has felt in two weeks.

The scoring of Martin, Strus and Vincent was necessary, to offset the struggles of others.

Victor Oladipo opened 0 for 6 and closed 1 for 8. He was 0 for 5 on threes and is now 35 for 116 on threes this season.

Kyle Lowry, scoring in single digits for the fourth time in five games, shot 2 for 6 but hit two threes in the third quarter. He had five assists and a turnover.

For the second game in a row, Spoelstra used Vincent ahead of Lowry in the fourth quarter.

Tyler Herro (10 points) struggled through a 4 for 12 night, including 0 for 3 on threes. But he hit two big free throws to put the Heat up 109-105 with 11 seconds to go.

Herro came off a 4 for 19 game against Boston. But he contributed in other ways on Friday, with six rebounds, three assists and a steal.

This was the first game in the season series, and Orlando entered with a losing record (19-29) but a dangerous mix of size (a Heat shortcoming) and athleticism.

It didn’t help that Miami continued its season-long struggle from three-point range.

That continued Friday, with Miami opening 1 for 9 on threes and 4 for 26 on shots outside the paint.

Miami finished 10 for 33 on three pointers (30.3 percent). But Strus (five) and Vincent (three) combined for eight big ones.

Spoelstra went 10 deep, using Haywood Highsmith as a 10th man three nights after he played very well against Boston, including suffocating defense and four threes in four attempts.

“He’s putting together more impactful minutes and that stays in your mind,” Spoelstra said.

Highsmith had two points and a rebound in seven minutes.

Orlando Robinson again played ahead of Dewayne Dedmon as the team’s backup center, closing scoreless but with four rebounds in 11 minutes. Dedmon hasn’t played since returning Jan. 14 from a one-game suspension.

The remaining days on Robinson’s two-way contract continue to tick. If he plays in every game in the next month, he’ll run out of NBA-eligible days on Feb. 25. At that point, Miami would need to keep him in the G League or convert him to a two-way contract.

Everyone available played except Dedmon and Udonis Haslem.

The Heat now embarks on a four-game road trip beginning Sunday in Charlotte, followed by games in Cleveland, at the Knicks and at Milwaukee.