After this mess in Memphis, it has to be go-time for the Heat – The Denver Post


Observations and other notes of interest from Monday’s 101-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies:

– It appeared the Grizzlies were doing the Heat a substantial favor by sitting out Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, among others.

– Such are the luxuries a team can afford on the second night of a back-to-back when near the top of its conference.

– A luxury the Heat now can’t afford when they play the second night of their back-to-back Tuesday at home against the Pistons.

– Because, after finding a way to lose to the Grizzlies’ B Team, it has to be go-time for Erik Spoelstra’s team.

– With a schedule that, after this four-game trip against the Hawks, Celtics, Celtics and Grizzlies, grows increasingly in the Heat’s favor.

– Over the Heat’s next 11, there is only one opponent considered anything close to a title contender.

– And that’s Thursday at home against a Clippers team that has been dealing with the injury absences and returns of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

– Otherwise (with all records going into Monday), there are the 6-19 Pistons, 6-18 Spurs, 12-11 Pacers, 10-13 Thunder, 6-17 Rockets, 6-18 Spurs again, 9-14 Bulls, 12-11 Pacers again, 11-12 Timberwolves and 10-12 Lakers, before beginning a five-game western swing that extends over New Year’s with a game at the 14-9 Nuggets.

– In other words, if not now, then when?

– This was a bad loss.

– Even if it did come after eight days on the road.

– Again, there is little margin of error for such a performance.

– The Heat opened with Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry.

– Making it the first time they opened consecutive games with their preferred starting five since Oct. 29-Nov. 1 against the Kings and Warriors.

– With his start, Butler passed Steve Smith for 22nd on the Heat all-time list.It was Butler’s 600th career start.

– Max Strus and Dewayne Dedmon entered together as the Heat’s first two substitutes.

– Followed by Gabe Vincent.

– And then Haywood Highsmith, to round out the nine-man rotation.

– Herro’s second defensive rebound moved him past Billy Thompson for 24th on the Heat all-time list.

– With his eighth made shot, Herro passed Michael Beasley for 2oth on the Heat all-time list, with his ninth moving him past Josh Richardson for 19th

– Adebayo’s second free throw moved him past Glen Rice for ninth on the Heat all-time list.

– Butler’s third free throw moved him past Rick Barry for 86th on the NBA all-time list.

– Mostly, though, the numbers were not nearly enough in the Heat’s favor.

– Which, to a degree, seemed unfathomable considering what the Grizzlies threw out there.



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