Observations and other notes of interest from Wednesday night’s 138-119 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies:
– Yes, one game is the ultimate NBA small sample size.
– But now that the roster is almost fully healthy, we might be starting to get a read of where Erik Spoelstra might be headed with the rotation.
– Kevin Love appears to be trending toward the Luke Babbitt role, starting each half, then called back into action only if needed.
– Omer Yurtseven is on the shortest of leashes.
– Not a lot of patience there from Erik Spoelstra.
– With it looking like Cody Zeller will re-emerge as backup center once the nose is re-set.
– And in an element that can’t be overlooked, Victor Oladipo was not part of Wednesday night’s rotation.
– Yes, he had been draining 3-pointers lately.
– But also plenty of helter-skelter moments, as well.
– Spoelstra clearly prefers stability.
– That hardly has been Oladipo’s middle name this season.
– Then there is Max Strus, who was held out of Monday’s first half against the Jazz, but was back in the mix Wednesday.
– That Strus element could come down to whether he is hitting threes.
– All as Duncan Robinson waits and watches, Robinson not entering Wednesday until 3:19 remained.
– The big question now is when, or if, Kyle Lowry gets back into the starting lineup.
– Which still would seem logical.
– And perhaps a playoff lineup with Caleb Martin back in the first five?
– Spoelstra has been known to shake it up in the postseason, after all.
– The again kept Lowry in reserve, opening with Bam Adebayo, Love, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent.
– Yurtseven and Strus entered together in the Heat’s first substitution.
– Yurtseven was called for two fouls in his first 69 seconds.
– During the ensuing huddle, Spoelstra stared at Yurtseven and slammed his clipboard to the court.
– Yurtseven then was called for his third foul 2:11 into that opening stint, forcing Spoelstra to rush Adebayo back to the court.
–That also is when Martin entered as the Heat’s third reserve.
– Lowry followed for nine deep.
– With Yurtseven in foul trouble, Haywood Highsmith then made it 10 deep when he entered for Adebayo in the second period.
– Don’t read much into that beyond Zeller not being available.
– Butler’s first offensive rebound was the 1,200th of his career.
– Butler’s fourth free-throw attempt moved him past Grant Long for fifth on the Heat all-time list.
– Butler’s fourth rebound moved him past Goran Dragic for 17th on the Heat all-time list.
– Butler’s eighth rebound was the 4,000th of his career.
– Strus’ first defensive rebound was the 400th of his career.
– Love’s third 3-pointer was the 1,550th of his career.
– Vincent’s fourth basket was the 500th of his career.
– Lowry’s third assist moved him past Kevin Johnson for 25th on the NBA all-time list.
– Lowry’s fourth assist moved him past Dan Majerle for 22nd on the Heat all-time list.
– Adebayo’s 22nd point was the 6,000th of his career.
– Spoelstra indicated that Zeller could be back by the weekend.
– Zeller broke his nose Saturday against the Magic, having also broken his nose last season while with Portland.
– “Once he gets it fixed, which should hopefully happen in the next couple of days, I think he’ll be able to use his previous mask,” Spoelstra said.
– Spoelstra said the Heat had clear goals going in, and that it was about more than the Grizzlies being without Ja Morant.
– “Number one,” Spoelstra said, “we have to build on what we did the other night and see if we can put together two games in a row. That’s where we are right now.”
– He added, “Number two, the last time they didn’t have Ja Morant against us, they beat us. So we’re not in any kind of position to overlook any kind of team.”
– Of the Grizzlies the past two seasons being able to survive in the absence of Morant, Spoelstra said, “They know what their identity is. They know what they are trying to get accomplished. He’s a big piece, obviously, a major piece to what they do, but they have a foundation. They defend regardless of who’s in the lineup. They play fast, regardless of who’s in the lineup, who’s not.”
– Jalen Ramsey sat courtside next to Xavien Howard, receiving a loud ovation when introduced in the second period.