Observations and other interesting notes from Friday night’s 111-104 loss to the Boston Celtics:
– It’s not that the Heat bench was necessarily a house of cards.
– But it seems to be built on the most fragile knees.
– With Victor Oladipo out again with knee pain, there’s just not much of a second unit that lost Tyler Herro to the top five.
– The idea of playing Max Strus and Duncan Robinson together?
– At this point, a non-runner (OK, non-bencher).
– And when Dewayne Dedmon replaces Bam Adebayo, a lot is lost on both sides.
– Omer Yurtseven might be able to help with the score.
– But he’s left with pain in his ankle.
– So maybe a trial by fire for Nikola Jovic?
– At this point, regarding the bench as it is currently built, there is none.
– But how do you get Herro out of a role where he thrives?
“Even though it might be for the greater good?”
– To his credit, Gabe Vincent was very good in this one.
– Just like Strus was in the first game.
– But that still leaves plenty of leverage to an older starting lineup that includes 30-somethings in Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry.
– It was still Adebayo, Caleb Martin, Butler, Herro and Lowry as the starting five for Erik Spoelstra.
– Dedmon (due to Adebayo’s fouls) and Strus followed as the first two reserves.
– From there, Vincent was third on the bench.
– To his credit, Vincent had his moments, including alongside Lowry.
– Robinson entered as fourth reserve, which is also when Butler returned from the bench.
– But once Dedmon was also called for his second foul, it led Haywood Highsmith to come in.
– This led to Butler at one point finding himself playing alongside Highsmith, Strus, Robinson and Vincent.
– Adebayo’s 13th point moved him past Mario Chalmers for 12th on the Heat’s all-time list.
–Lowry’s first steal moved him past Charles Oakley for 68th on the NBA’s all-time list, with his second stealing him past Derek Fisher for 67th.
– Strus’ second 3-point attempt was the 600th of his career.
– Herro’s second field goal moved him past Steve Smith for 23rd on the Heat’s all-time list.
– With his fifth assist, Lowry passed Nate Archibald for 26th on the NBA’s all-time list.
– Adebayo tried to play down the rivalry with the Celtics.
– “Game by game, man. Take it game by game,” he said. “Opponents are going to be adversaries. But at the end of the day, we want to win every game. It’s the state of mind. Obviously, the story between us, there’s a little dogfight in there. But other than that, just a game-by-game mentality.
–When asked what he took away from the Game 7 loss to the Celtics in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, Adebayo said. “I mean, we all went home. This is the bottom line. The team, the organization, the staff, we were sent home. So that’s something to think about when you go out on this terrain.
– On the perception that he has to score for the Heat to win, Adebayo said: “I get asked what is needed. This year, I’m being asked to play a bigger role in scoring.
– Spoelstra opened his pregame comments with words about referee Tony Brown, who was claimed by pancreatic cancer on Thursday.
– “I would like to begin by sending our condolences to the family of Tony Brown,” Spoelstra said. “This is really bad news. He was a good man. A great official and a good man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. »
– There was also a pregame moment for Brown.
– As well as a pre-game tribute to the late Bill Russell, whose number 6 now hangs on the south wall of the arena alongside the numbers of Dan Marino and Michael Jordan.
– Spoelstra feigned shock before the match over questions from Lowry’s uneven opener.
– “What is it, a kind of panic after the first match?” he said. “We know what he can bring, and he brings that championship, Hall of Fame quarterback.”
– When asked about the details, Spoelstra said: “When we win. It is what it is. It’s a retro. He’s a winner. He really has an impact on winning on both sides of the pitch. He is tough, a great competitor. And I’m glad he’s on our side. I was tired of competing with him.
– Spoelstra spoke before the game about rebuilding the defense following the loss of free forward PJ Tucker.
“Where will this tusk be? I hope it will be one of the best defenses again,” he said. “We are developing our habits at the moment. We have a lot of institutional knowledge. And I’m open to see how we’re going to do that. It will look a little different, but we are confident that we will be able to build a reliable defense.
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