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What was Heat’s Max Strus thinking during a late foul on Rudy Gobert? – News from Mercury

Q: Ira, you’re telling us that Max Strus is a better defender than Duncan Robinson and he can do more to create his own shot. Then he goes out of bounds and commits this fault on Rudy Gobert. Not good. – David.

A: Of all the self-inflicted injuries the Heat suffered on their 0-4 journey, except for leaving Kyle Kuzma open for the 3-point tie at the end of regulation Friday in Washington, I am not sure there have been any as costly and confusing as Max Strus’ foul on Rudy Gobert with four seconds left on the shot, 9.2 seconds left in Monday night’s game and the Heat down two. Two free throws from Gobert later and it was effectively over. No, Erik Spoelstra didn’t signal a foul to stop the clock and send Gobert over the line; he said as much as he did in his postgame media session. “First, I don’t know if it was a foul. It didn’t seem intentional,” Spoelstra said. “It looked like they were going to be stuck, five seconds on the clock. We probably would have had five seconds at the end. I don’t know.” And, yes, Strus said he acted on his own, in light of Gobert’s foul .652 shot. A hard one to swallow. “Historically, he’s not a great free-throw shooter,” Strus said. “I thought it was a good chance to put it on the line and I’m hoping to miss one. But I guess it was a stupid game. As for Strus misfires, that’s what shooters do, shoot. As for going out of bounds, it’s not as if the teammates also committed turnovers. But the margin of error was too small for a mental mistake. If the Heat had defended those last four seconds on the shot clock, they could have had possession, with a timeout, down two, with five seconds left. If nothing else, Strus might have had a chance to redeem himself for his blow to Washington that was on the buzzer.

Q: The silver lining is that we see multiple prospects playing. Orlando Robinson, Haywood Highsmith and most importantly the fans’ new shiny toy, Nikola Jovic. It’s very encouraging that Heat veterans like Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry are saying Nikola Jovic can really play. Kyle said he obviously has a high ceiling, exactly what one wants to hear. – Morgan, New Orleans.

A: I agree with Nikola Jovic. But with all due respect to Haywood Highsmith and Orlando Robinson, if we’re about to console ourselves in their game, we’re hardly at a point at all.

Q: I feel like since there were no changes in the offseason (release, sign or trade anyone), everyone got comfortable and calm. A move must be made to show that no one is safe if you don’t produce. – Ricardo.

A: Or were they comfortable that Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro would do the heavy lifting and then all of a sudden Bam, Jimmy and Tyler were gone? Again, the Heat haven’t played a game with those three players since Nov. 1. And because of the guaranteed salary and luxury tax, you just can’t walk away from a player. That’s not how it works in the NBA.


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