MIAMI – Observations and other interesting notes on Friday night’s 97-95 win over the Houston Rockets:
– You don’t come out of the trading deadline without an acquisition, saying you’ve had enough. . . then do this.
– Fight for your life for a team that only fights for the top seed in the lottery.
– No not good.
– But what a finish.
– Jimmy Butler saves the night with his dunk.
– Gabe Vincent saved him with the perfect inbound alley-oop.
– The takeaway from this one?
– The Heat played a 17-17 third quarter.
– Against the team with the worst record in the NBA.
– When they had the chance to set aside the first game of a back-to-back.
– And rest the regulars.
– Instead, there was a frenetic fourth quarter.
– And the need to rush Jimmy Butler into the mix.
– As apparently always.
– To save the day.
– No, nothing is easy for this team.
– In particular to mark.
– Because it’s not like the Rockets are coming in as defensive aces.
– No, nothing added to the trading deadline.
“And now the hope is that Russell Westbrook will fix things?”
– Is that what it’s all about?
–While Kyle Lowry missed a third straight game with knee pain, Gabe Vincent once again started at point guard for the Heat.
– Lowry was also ruled out for Saturday’s game in Orlando, and likely beyond.
– Other Heat starters remained Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin, Butler and Tyler Herro.
– The Heat were also left without Victor Oladipo, due to his sprained ankle.
– Still absent, Duncan Robinson (finger), Omer Yurtseven (ankle) and Nikola Jovic (back). All three were in the locker room before the game.
– Udonis Haslem was absent from the squad due to a personal issue.
– Max Strus and Orlando Robinson entered as the Heat’s first reserves.
– Haywood Highsmith followed.
– With Jamaree Bouyea, who is under a 10-day contract, as he makes his NBA debut.
– Score quickly on the drive layup on his first touch.
– Adebayo’s first flight was the 400th of his career.
– Butler’s first free throw attempt was the 4,750th of his career.
– Butler’s second steal moved him past Mitch Richmond for 91st on the NBA’s all-time list, with his first draw against Dirk Nowitzki for 92nd.
– Strus’ sixth 3-point attempt moved him past LeBron James for 14th on the Heat’s all-time list.
– Vincent’s second 3-point attempt moved him past Shane Battier for 22nd on the Heat’s all-time list, with his fourth taking him past Kendrick Nunn for 21st.
– Herro’s 10th field goal moved him past Brian Grant for 18th on the Heat’s all-time list.
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– It was a mixed night for the Rockets after Thursday’s deadline, with Frank Kaminsky and Justin Holiday arriving in time to be active.
– “Isn’t that typical enough?” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says opposing formations have been fluctuating throughout this season. “Maybe not how it happened, where they have a bunch of different guys. But that seems to be a bit more the norm in the league, that you don’t necessarily know who’s going to be available, who’s going to play and who you’ve scouted the last five games, the team you’re playing against might be a little different.
– Spoelstra said the Heat are looking inside.
– “And that’s why it’s imperative, he continues, that you get your affairs in order, your identity, how you want to play, and can you find consistency in that? And then, of course, you go through the preparation time to be specific to that team. But we have enough on our plate to be able to try to be much more consistent and be able to sustain our game for longer periods.
–Spoelstra also addressed former Miami Dolphins pregame linebacker Zach Thomas, who was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday.
– “It was the Dolphins team when I first came here that I became familiar with,” Spoelstra said. “I hadn’t followed the Dolphins before that. And Zach Thomas was one of the guys that made you watch him, the crashes, and the mini car wrecks every time he was involved in a play.
– Spoelstra added: “He was really fun to watch and he’s had an amazing career and it’s really cool to see him get the ultimate award for that.”