Butler out; virus hinted
Heat star Jimmy Butler wasn’t with the team at practice Sunday in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and one of his teammates suggested he was quarantining.
The Heat said only that Butler, who scored 22 points Saturday against the Nuggets, had ‘‘an excused absence.’’ But teammate Jae Crowder indicated it wasn’t a normal day off.
‘‘We want to talk to him as soon as he gets out of quarantine or whatever he’s in,’’ Crowder said. ‘‘It’s just a next-man-up mentality from a standpoint of staying locked in and engaged because we know he’s locked in and engaged once he’s able to get back with us.
‘‘It’s definitely a curveball for all of us to hear stuff like what’s going on with him. You never know what to expect.’’
Coach Erik Spoelstra said he didn’t know whether Butler would be available to play Monday against the Raptors.
NBA doubling-down on safety
The NBA sent a memo to team executives, coaches and health officers reiterating the importance of wearing masks or face coverings in the bubble, as well as adhering to social-distancing guidelines.
Teams were instructed to share the memo with all players and hold a meeting by Wednesday to stress the importance of proper mask or face-covering use.
The NBA has yet to announce that any player has tested positive in the bubble, where 22 teams are participating in the restarted season. In the most recent testing update, which was revealed last week, the NBA said 344 players had been tested with no positives.
On the court
Russell Westbrook scored 31 points, including the tying and go-ahead free throws with 20.6 seconds left, and the Rockets overcame a monster effort by Giannis Antetokounmpo to slip past the Bucks 120-116.
James Harden added 24 points for the Rockets, who put five players in double figures and made 21 of the record-tying 61 three-pointers they tried.
Antetokounmpo scored 36 points to go with 18 rebounds and eight assists for the Bucks, who also got 27 points and 12 rebounds from Khris Middleton and 23 points and 12 rebounds from Brook Lopez.
Jayson Tatum scored 34 points, Jaylen Brown added 30 and the Celtics squandered an early 24-point lead before recovering to beat the Trail Blazers 128-124. Tatum bounced back from a terrible performance in which he shot 2-for-18 in a loss Friday to the Bucks.
Caris LeVert scored 25 of his 34 points in the second half, including 14 in the last seven minutes, to carry the Nets to a 118-110 victory against the Wizards.
Tillman staying in draft
Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman announced he is staying in the NBA Draft and giving up his senior season of college eligibility. He averaged 13.7 points and 10.3 rebounds for the Spartans last season.
The Heat’s Jimmy Butler gets a hand from his teammates Saturday against the Nuggets.