On Tuesday night, the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder at FTX Arena without missing a single free throw, beating the previous NBA record.
The Heat went 40/40 from the foul line in their 112-111 victory, with Jimmy Butler leading the way and hitting all 23 of his attempts.
Butler’s 23rd and final free throw attempt of the game, completed with little over 12 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, shattered the previous record of 39 made free throws established by the Utah Jazz against the Portland Trail Blazers in 1982.
After the game, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters, “We’ve been a very great free-throw shooting team all year, but that’s incredible.” He acknowledged that he had no idea they hadn’t missed a free shot until that point.
Butler finished with 35 points, becoming the only player in NBA history to accomplish it while making no more than six field goals.
The 33-year-old also tied Dominique Wilkins of the NBA Hall of Fame for the second-most free throws made without missing in league history (James Harden owns the record with 24).
The record came at the conclusion of a chaotic night in Miami, in which the Heat trailed 111-106 with less than a minute remaining.
Dewayne Dedmon, a Heat centre, was ejected from the game after smashing a massage gun into the floor during play following an incident with a member of the team’s coaching staff. The Heat were already missing six injured players.
For the Miami Heat, it’s just another Tuesday night, according to Spoelstra. “This is when everything simply happens, and all of our competitive juices come out, and I think that’s when we feel the most alive. We can all relate to their group. The one is my favourite team.
Despite missing key players Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, and Caleb Martin, the Heat were able to recapture an important victory thanks to Max Strus (22 points) and Victor Oladipo (19 points).
The Thunder were led by Shai Gilgeous-26 Alexander’s points, while Josh Giddey, a second-year point guard, produced a triple double with 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists in the defeat.
Miami’s record improves to 22-20, while the Thunder’s falls to 18-23.