Heat wins sixth in row behind good nights from Butler, Adebayo, Jaquez. Takeaways, details

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Takeaways from the Heat’s 111-105 win against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night at Spectrum Center, a victory that extended Miami’s winning streak to six and completed a 4-0 road trip:

The Heat continued to do a much better job against bad teams than it did a year ago. And Miami used the same formula that has keyed this winning streak: excellence from Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, disruptive defense, sharp shooting and timely help from the supporting cast.

This one was harrowing for a time, with Charlotte pulling to within four points multiple times in the final minutes. But Miami ultimately survived.

Butler scored 16 points in the first half (7 of 9 shooting) and closed with 32 points on 10 for 14 shooting, plus four rebounds, five assists and two steals. He hit a big pull up jumper that put Miami ahead 108-101 and 1:11 left. Afterward, he spoke of this team’s resilience.

Adebayo was once again a force, scoring Miami’s first six points of the third quarter and 21 for the game, to go along with 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.

Tuesday continued a sustained stretch of dominance for Adebayo, who averaged 25.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and shot 54 percent in the Heat’s previous four games.

Adebayo scored four points after the Hornets pulled to within five points, and then four points, midway through the fourth quarter. He then blocked LaMelo Ball on a key stop with under three minutes left.

And the Heat forced Charlotte into 18 turnovers, with Haywood Highsmith at the epicenter of that defensive whirlwind.

“It’s fun whenever you’re play that way because you’re playing off a stop, getting in transition,” Butler said. “That’s how we want to play.”

Twelve of those Hornets turnovers came in the first half, when Miami flipped an 11-point deficit into a 57-48 lead at the break.

The Hornets are 28th in points allowed, and the Heat scored 111 and shot 48.2 percent after averaging 114.4 points and shooting 49 percent in the first five games of this winning streak.

And most importantly: After what was considered by many to be a disappointing offseason, Miami moved to 7-4, tied with Indiana for the third best record in the Eastern Conference.

“We had different guys step up in each game to be able to do this, to go 4-0 on the road,” Erik Spoelstra said.

The Heat is taking care of business against bad teams, moving to 4-0 against teams with losing records, following earlier wins against Detroit, San Antonio and Memphis.

Keep in mind that the Heat lost repeatedly to lottery teams last season, including two defeats against Charlotte, Indiana and Washington; a blowout home loss to Detroit; a home setback to San Antonio; a defeat against Orlando and three losses to play-in team Toronto.

This season, Miami is beating the teams it should. The upshot is Miami is one of just nine NBA teams that stood three or more games above .500 as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.

“You always have to expect that things will be tough on the road and they sure have been,” Spoelstra said, with Miami returning home to play Brooklyn on Thursday after sweeping the four-game trip. “It’s always harrowing and we found different ways to win. The part that the coach likes the most about it is when you develop some grit, some collective perseverance and you become stronger from these experiences.”

Highsmith and Duncan Robinson, who began the season coming off the bench, gave the Heat a major lift as starters.

Highsmith ignited a big second quarter run with 12 points and superb defense, including four steals and two blocks. He had five steals in 33 minutes and closed the night with those 12 points.

“We were active, disruptive and the zone gets us going defensively,” Highsmith said. “I was making them work, and that got us going, as far as getting turnovers, running and getting in transition. That was definitely important for us.”

Miami moved to 6-0 with Highsmith in the starting lineup. Miami entered a plus 13 with Highsmith on the court, and the Heat outscored the Hornets by six with Highsmith on the court Tuesday.

One snapshot of his impact: He forced Ball into a fadeaway air ball, then broke down his defender on the other end and dished to Adebayo, who drew a foul. Adebayo hit two free throws, ending a 7-0 Charlotte spurt and putting the Heat ahead 97-90.

“We’re really getting it done on the defensive end,” Adebayo said. “Really starting to get more deflections, starting to play in passing lanes. So we’re getting stops and we’re starting to play in transition.”

Highsmith’s shooting touch also came around after a mini slump.

After shooting 3 for 17 (and 0 for 8 on threes) in Miami’s past two games, Highsmith finished 5 for 8 from the field, including 2 for 5 on threes.

Highsmith continues to get significant minutes in the ongoing absence of Caleb Martin, who has missed 10 games with a knee injury but is seemingly moving closer to a return.

Robinson -- starting for the third game in place of injured Tyler Herro -- continued his renaissance, scoring 18, including 4 for 10 on threes. He hit a big three after Charlotte closed to within four with 4:34 left. And don’t overlook his eight rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block.

Coming off a 26-point game against San Antonio, Robinson entered averaging a career-high 10.7 field goal attempts per game and shooting 35.7 percent on threes.

The Heat’s two natural point guards achieved the ignominious feat of combining for no points, two assists and six fouls.

Kyle Lowry picked up two fouls in the first 49 seconds and went to the bench for the duration of the first half after being called for his third foul 3:29 into the game.

Dru Smith then entered but was whistled for two fouls in three minutes and immediately departed for good.

Lowry picked up his fourth foul with 5:55 left in the third quarter, but Spoelstra left him in the game and he promptly delivered a nifty pass to Highsmith for a dunk.

He finished scoreless, missing his only shot, with two assists in 15 minutes.

But even with Herro out, the Heat has several others who can handle -- Butler, Adebayo and Josh Richardson, among others -- and Miami easily survived the minutes without its point guards.

Speaking of surviving… the Heat survived uncharacteristically sharp three-point shooting from a depleted Hornets team and got significant second-half help from its bench, particularly rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr.

The Hornets - playing without starters Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges - opened 6 for 6 on threes and finished the night at 46.9 percent (15 for 32).

Keep in mind that the Hornets entered the night tied with Portland for last in the league in three-point shooting percentage at 30.3.

P.J. Washington hit his first four three-pointers and closed the night with 32 points. But he missed two critical open threes late in the game.

Kevin Love and Josh Richardson opened a combined 2 for 10, but Richardson (who shot 2 for 10 from the field) was stout defensively - including a key stop late - and dished out six assists while playing a season high 33 minutes. And Love drew two offensive fouls and had a steal on an 0 for 5 shooting night.

For the second game in a row, Spoelstra gave minutes to both backup centers - Love, who logged 14 minutes and Thomas Bryant, who scored two points in a three-minute first half cameo.

Meanwhile, Jaquez Jr. again played very well, chipping in 17 points in a variety of ways, including a goaltending call and a dunk that keyed an 8-0 fourth quarter run. He nailed a three after the Hornets closed to within four with just under four minutes left and shot 8 for 13 from the field, with five rebounds to boot.

“This is the game I played my entire life,” he said. “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I know when I got my chance I was going to be ready.”

Jaquez had averaged 4.8 fourth quarter minutes this season before playing the entire fourth quarter in each of the past four games.

“It’s the reliability, the ability to compete at a high level,” Spoelstra said before the game. “He’s attentive to details and has earned the trust of his teammates, which is the most important thing.”

Overall, the five backups who played were a plus 21, which was vital against a Hornets bench featuring people named Leaky Black, Nick Richards and Bryce McGowans (as well as veteran Heat tormenter Ish Smith).

The Heat moved to 2-0 in group play in the new In-Season Tournament.

That leads Group B, ahead of 1-0 Milwaukee, 1-1 Charlotte, the 0-1 Knicks and 0-2 Washington.

The winners of the league’s six “groups” and two wild card teams advance to the single elimination round. The final four teams advance to the Dec. 7 semifinals and Dec. 9 championship game in Las Vegas.

Miami has two more In-Season Tournament games – the Friday after Thanksgiving at the Knicks and Nov. 28 at home against Milwaukee.

“Every competitor, no matter what they say, would want to be in Vegas,” Spoelstra said.

As Jaquez said, “you’ve got $500,000 on the line” for every player on the team that wins the tournament. “Try to win that prize money.”