A less-than-convincing victory for the Heat – The Denver Post


Observations and other notes of interest from Thursday night’s 117-112 overtime victory the Charlotte Hornets:

– When you get down to it, this had to be a no-lose situation for the Heat.

– As in they couldn’t afford to go south in this one the way they had in their previous two, against the Pacers and Blazers.

– The Heat were coming off a two-day break, with one game over the previous five days.

– The Hornets were playing on the second night of a back-to-back that had them flying through a hurricane overnight.

– And were without LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Cody Martin.

– Entering last in the East.

– On a six-game losing streak.

– If not now, then when?

– And still, this type of struggle.

– No, never should have gone overtime.

– But it did.

– It is hard to deny that there is a late-game crisis of confidence in place.

– Saturday, the rest factor won’t be as arresting when the teams meet again.

– But to be who they want to be, the Heat have to do it again.

– They can’t keep settling for two-game splits.

– As they previously have done against the Raptors, Blazers, Kings and Warriors.

– Because after Saturday, there are the Suns at home on Monday and then a challenging four-game trip that included a matchup against the resurgent Cavaliers.

– Tyler Herro missed his second consecutive game due to a sprained left ankle.

– Caleb Martin, who also had been listed as questionable pregame due to a quad contusion, was available and in the starting lineup.

– The Heat’s other starters were Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Max Strus and Kyle Lowry.

– With the start, Butler tied Jamal Mashburn for 23rd on the Heat all-time list.

– The game was Butler’s 700th regular-season appearance.

– Dedwayne Dedmon, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson again entered together as the Heat’s first substitution.

– With Erik Spoelstra mostly going with an eight-man rotation in Herro’s absence.

– Butler’s second rebound moved him past Dan Majerle for 24th on the Heat all-time list.

– With his third point, Duncan Robinson moved past Steve Smith for 23rd on the Heat all-time scoring list.

– With his first steal, Dedmon reached 250 for his career.

– With his first steal, Vincent reached 100 for his career.

– Adebayo’s first steal tied Goran Dragic for 11th on the Heat all-time list.

– Adebayo’s 11th shot moved him past Hassan Whiteside for 15th on the Heat all-time list.

– Butler’s fourth free-throw attempt was the 4,500th of his career.

– Butler’s seventh free throw moved him past Dennis Johnson for 88th on the NBA all-time list.

– Butler’s eighth free throw moved him past Dan Issel for 87th on the NBA all-time list.

– Spoelstra spoke pregame of his team’s run of close games and close losses.

– “I think those are really good opportunities for your team to get better,” he said. “That’s when you have the most focus, the most context. Everything has to be done with great detail. And you also have to stay the course and understand what’s putting us in position to have opportunities to win and what’s hurting us.”

– Spoelstra added, “We’re not looking for moral victories, that’s not what I’m talking about. We’re doing some things better and the result hasn’t been what we want it to be. But you just keep on doing these and stacking these kinds of days, eventually it turns in your favor.”

– The game marked the second of eight occurrences this season when Heat play the same opponent in consecutive games at the same venue, with six of those coming in Miami. They previously did so earlier this season against Toronto, splitting the two games.

– Hornets coach Steve Clifford said he embraced the no-travel scheduling.

– “I think it’s great we don’t have to travel,” he said. “It’s like a mini kind of playoff thing.”

– Clifford said he fully expects the Heat to come around.

– “They haven’t shot the ball as well as they will,” he said.

– He added, “At the end of the year, they’ll be right there.”

– Clifford said he also sees better days ahead for his team, once LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Cody Martin return.

– “Those guys are all going to come back,” he said, “and when they do, we’re a good team.”



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