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Victor Oladipo stays behind but Omer Yurtseven takes flight as Heat head west for three-game trip – The Mercury News

The Miami Heat kicked off Tuesday for the start of their three-game Western swing in an all-too-familiar pattern under Victor Oladipo, with the veteran guard still on the ground.

Still, to play this season, Oladipo suffers from tendinosis in his knee and has been left behind in South Florida, meaning he will miss at least the first seven games of the season.

On a more encouraging note, center Omer Yurtseven, who has yet to play this season due to an ankle dispute, has flown in with the team for the trip which includes three games over four days.

Yurtseven twisted his ankle in the Heat’s Oct. 4 preseason opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves at FTX Arena and hasn’t played since, having gone 27 minutes in that game.

Oladipo was dropped from the Heat’s first three exhibitions for what has been dubbed a “return to competitive conditioning,” before appearing in the last two, most recently in 18 minutes in the exhibition victory of the October 12 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Oladipo missed most of last season due to complications from surgery with his opposite knee.

Returning with the team are forwards Caleb Martin and Nikola Jovic, both suspended from Monday night’s loss to the visiting Toronto Raptors due to their involvement in a Saturday fracas against Toronto that spilled over into the grandstands of the FTX Arena.

patience game

No, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, the intent was not to limit Jimmy Butler to the final 3:38 of the fourth quarter in Monday night’s loss.

But without an intermediate stop, Butler was caught watching and waiting from the scorer’s table before he could get back into the action.

Butler had come to the scorer’s table with 6:20 left in the fourth, but found himself with an unexpected streak of 8:29 out of action.

“I didn’t have any time outs,” said Spoelstra, who actually had two but preferred to save them for the final moments. “It frustrated me. I almost considered taking a fault, not the fault [an intentional stoppage that gives the opposition a free throw], but in the half court. And in retrospect, I probably should have. It was too much to have him sitting on that sideline, especially since every possession really mattered.

“I thought we were getting a decent execution and a decent appearance. But we also wanted Jimmy Butler in the game and we usually sent him to the table with enough time. But the way things went earlier, I didn’t have a downtime.

The Heat used their final two timeouts in the final 50.4, after the Raptors took a five-point lead on what had been an eight-point advantage over the Heat.

road warriors

After a 1-3 homestand to open the season, hope is the road is now a path to redemption, with the Western swing opening Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, continuing Thursday night against the Golden State Warriors and ends Saturday against the Sacramento Kings.

“I always feel like these trips can be an opportunity,” Spoelstra said, “but especially right now when we’re facing a bit of adversity. They’re opportunities to come together and develop a collective will.

“There will be no one but us there. It’s an opportunity for us to really start to connect, to face some adversity on the road and hopefully grow from that and get some wins.

Playmaker Kyle Lowry said it will have to be a step-by-step process.

“I think we just have to go out there and play, at the end of the day,” he said. “The road is the road, a hostile environment and we just have to go out there and hoop and find a way to try to win games and take it one by one and possession by possession, I can’t watch the whole journey. Watch as the next game is Portland and focus on Portland.

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