Observations and other notes of interest from Saturday night’s 132-115 victory the Charlotte Hornets:
– This time no split personality.
– The two previous games with the Toronto Raptors? A win and a loss.
– The previous two against the Golden State Warriors? A win and a loss.
– The two against the Sacramento Kings? A win and a loss.
– The two against the Portland Trail Blazers? A win and a loss.
– And now these two against the Charlotte Hornets?
– A win and a win.
– Which is what a good team does.
– And maybe this finally is trending there after so many shaky moments.
– Yes, the first half was uneven.
– Yes, they allowed the Hornets to still make a game early in the fourth.
– But Erik Spoelstra’s team showed the ability to take it to another level against the worst team in the East.
– Now they need to do it Monday against one of the best in the West, when they host the Phoenix Suns.
– Because 7-7 would feel a lot more comforting going into a four-game trip that includes the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then the height of the Minnesota Timberwolves on the second night of a back-to-back.
– Max Strus again stepped in for Tyler Herro in the starting lineup.
– Strus has now started six of the Heat’s 13 games.
– Rounding out the Heat first five were Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Caleb Martin.
– The game was Lowry’s 800th career regular-season start.
– The Hornets opened with LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre, PJ Washington and Mason Plumlee.
– Duncan Robinson, Dewayne Dedmon and Gabe Vincent again entered together as first three off the Heat bench.
– Inactive for the Heat were Herro, Victor Oladipo, Omer Yurtseven and Dru Smith, who is on G League assignment.
– Jamal Cain was active upon his return from the G League.
– It was the fourth time Cain was active this season, allowed to be active a maximum of 50 games on his two-way contract.
– Butler’s second free throw was the 3,800th of his career.
– Strus’ seventh 3-point attempt moved him past Antoine Walker for 24th on the Heat all-time list.
– Herro missed his third game due to a sprained ankle.
– “He’s done work at shootarounds and everything behind the scenes,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Sometimes those things just take a little bit more time than what you want it to. And that’s where we are right now. But he’s doing everything he needs to do to give himself a chance.”
– Spoelstra also spoke pregame of the Hornets getting LaMelo Ball back in their mix for the first time this season, raising one comparison to Lowry.
– “He’s one of the very best in just changing the speed, pace of a game,” Spoelstra said. “And regardless of whether he’s 100 percent or not, he and Kyle are best pitch-ahead guys in the league.”
– Of his instructions going in, in what was his first game coaching Ball, Hornets coach Steve Clifford said, “What I’ve talked to him about is setting a tone on every possession.”
– While the Hornets were measuring Ball’s minutes, that task became simpler when Ball was called for his third foul with 8:59 left in the second period.
– The Heat’s G League affiliate won 124-114 Saturday night over Fort Wayne.
– Smith, on loan to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, had 18 points and 11 rebounds in that win.