Bench is barren so starters dramatically close it out for Heat – The Denver Post


Observations and other notes of interest from Friday night’s 110-107 victory over the Washington Wizards:

– One day the Heat will again have a bench.

– A bench that allows for realistic breaks for the starters.

– A bench that can keep things afloat.

– A bench that extends leads.

– Friday night, amid the injuries that continue to ravage Erik Spoelstra’s rotations, the Heat’s bench was Haywood Highsmith, Dru Smith, Jamal Cain and Dewayne Dedmon.

– This of course was not how it was going to be.

– But with Jimmy Butler, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson among those sidelined, this is what the bench has become.

– As the Heat hold their breath when Bam Adebayo dares take a break.

– Or Kyle Lowry.

– Imagine the luxury of, say, being able to go to Strus, Vincent, Robinson, Victor Oladipo in reserve.

– It practically would be a Wing Rotation 2.0.

– Instead, we wait.

– Spoelstra said the approach has been to adapt and move forward.

– “It’s just about, ‘All right, who’s available? And what’s the solution to give us the best chance to win?’ ” Spoelstra said. “That’s probably the way it should have always been, maybe if I could have spoken to myself 10 years ago.”

– At midday, Caleb Martin was listed as doubtful due to illness. By tip-off. he was on the court for the opening jump.

– He was flanked again in the Heat starting lineup by Adebayo, Lowry, Nikola Jovic and Tyler Herro.

– That was with Jimmy Butler, Strus and Robinson again sidelined. (As well as Oladipo and Omer Yurtseven, and their ongoing absences.)

– Because of the uncertainty in the backcourt, the Heat brought back Smith from their G League affiliate. That came at the cost of waiving center Orlando Robinson from his two-way deal.

– Smith had been waived Nov .13, since then starting three games with the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, averaging 17.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.00 steals and 1.33 blocks there in 34.0 minutes per game, while shooting .488 from the field and .421 on 3-pointers.

– Robinson appeared in two games with the Heat, with 14 points, nine rebounds, two steals, an assist and a block.

– Bradley Beal was back for the Wizards, joining the starting lineup by Corey Kispert, Deni Avdija, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porziņģis.

– Highsmith and Smith played as the Heat’s first two reserves, confirming just how debilitating Gabe Vincent’s knee pain stands.

– Haywood proceeded to miss all three free throws on a three-shot foul.

– Followed by Cain.

– And then Dedmon, for nine deep.

– At that point, Udonis Haslem was the only remaining available Heat player yet to see action.

– To his credit, Dedmon played well, after being listed as questionable due to his ongoing foot problem.

– And Highsmith again was a factor on the boards.

– Herro’s first free throw was the 400th of his career.



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