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Fundamental victory for Miami, Dallas on the edge

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Fundamental victory for Miami, Dallas on the edge

Jimmy Butler and the Heat scored a vital victory in the playoff race, a tough knockout for the Mavericks. Jimmy Butler, as leader, scores 35 points with 12 assists, Cody Zeller adds 20 and the Heat prevail 129-122, breaking a streak of three straight losses. Max Strus and Kevin Love each scored 18 points and Tyler Herro added 15 for the Heat.

The victory comes despite Miami allowing Dallas to score with a season-high 61%. Luka Doncic is always driving for Dallas, 42 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 31 points and Kyrie Irving added 23 with eight assists.

The victory brings Miami (41-37) closer to securing at least seventh place in the Eastern play-in. The Heat now have a 2.5 game lead over Atlanta (38-39) and Toronto (also 38-39). Miami is within 1.5 games of sixth-ranked Brooklyn (42-35).

The Mavs, on the other hand, are now one game away from the last available spot in the Western play-in, occupied by Oklahoma City (38-40), and two games away from Minnesota (39-39). In addition, Dallas is only half a game ahead of Utah (36-41), twelfth in the standings.

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