Udonis Haslem came out victorious and put on a show.
Haslem scored 24 points in their final game of the regular seasonDuncan Robinson added 20 and the Miami Heat got ready for the play-in tournament by beating the Orlando Magic 123-110 on Sunday.
It was Haslem’s highest-scoring game since he scored 28 points on Nov. 14, 2009. He went out for the final time with 58.9 seconds left, and received the last of many standing ovations throughout the afternoon
“He’s the ultimate competitor, the ultimate teammate, the ultimate winner,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s about all the right things. It also has that ‘quality’ and always has.”
Haslem was 9-for-17 from the floor, 3-for-7 from 3-point range. It was Haslem’s 1,026th game, including the playoffs, and he has only scored more runs in two of them.
“So many people have sacrificed for me and this is for them. This is their day as much as it is mine,” said Haslem, who is retiring at the end of this season, his 20th, all with Miami. “This love affair that I’ve had with this organization and this city over the past 20 years will continue to grow.”
Victor Oladipo scored 19, Jamal Cain added 18 and Omer Yurtseven finished with 14 for Miami, which had a franchise-record 111 points off its bench.
Kevon Harris scored 22 for Orlando, while Caleb Houstan added 21 and Chuma Okeke scored 14. The Magic started 5-20, then went 29-28 in their last 57 games.
“I just have to say how proud I am of this group,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “To be able to go 5-20 and not falter, that just shows the resilience of this group, the willingness to learn, the willingness to take on different challenges.”
Miami held on to Jimmy Butler, who was rested before Tuesday’s play-in game against Atlanta. Orlando held on to Paolo Banchero, his rookie season ended due to back strain.
Orlando remained in the play-in race until the final days of the season, a huge change from last season.
“I think everybody can see where we’re going,” Banchero said.
Most of Miami’s rotation players who appeared — Max Strus, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Gabe Vincent, Kyle Lowry, Kevin Love, Cody Zeller and Caleb Martin — got one or two turns before their days were called. None of these players logged more than 12 minutes.
Haslem, at 42 years and 304 days, is the fifth-oldest player to appear in an NBA game. Nat Hickey was 45 when he played two games for Providence in January 1948. Kevin Willis played until 44, while Robert Parish and Vince Carter played until 43.
Haslem passed Dikembe Mutombo for No. 5 on the oldest player list; Mutombo was 42 years and 300 days old when he appeared in his NBA Finals.
“I couldn’t have scripted that any better,” Spoelstra said.
Report from The Associated Press.
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