Observations and other notes of interest from Monday night’s 113-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves:
– There is something about these moments that have long inspired the Heat.
– Almost as if to validate Erik Spoelstra’s always-ready mantra of “we have enough.”
– So no Jimmy Butler.
– No Bam Adebayo (nor Dewayne Dedmon).
– And still finding a way.
– Granted, the Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns.
– But this was a game the Heat started Nikola Jovic at center.
– And later went with Haywood Highsmith at center.
– A game when Max Strus regained his 3-point shot when needed.
– And when Duncan Robinson again contributed.
– No, can’t win regularly like this.
– But nonetheless needed.
– So back at .500.
– With one game to move back above, before a challenging five-game western swing.
– WithAdebayo out, it was another expected start for 19-year-old Jovic.
– It was Jovic’s eighth start in his 14 appearances.
– And with Butler out, Strus again was injected into the starting mix.
– It was Strus’ 19th start in his 32 appearances, after having been projected as a sixth man in the preseason.
– The other starters remained Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin.
– The Heat now have opened with a different lineup in each of their last seven games.
– With the start, Lowry passed Stephon Marbury for 96th on the NBA all-time list.
– Lowry has now connected on at least one 3-pointer in 29 consecutive games, five games from the longest streak of his career.
– Victor Oladipo played as the Heat’s first reserve.
– Orlando Robinson and Highsmith then followed together.
– Duncan Robinson then made it nine deep for the Heat.
– With Gabe Vincent returning as 10th man.
– Vincent had missed the previous nine games, having dealt with knee pain.
– “He’s in a great place,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And I think it was an appropriate and smart plan that everybody put together. He had to be on board with it. The trainers worked with him on that.”
– Spoelstra said the approach with Vincent was similar to the caution with the entire roster.
– “Whenever you see somebody that’s not moving the way they’re capable of, sometimes you have to really kind of assess and then pivot,” Spoelstra said. “And thankfully, he’s responded really well. He’s ready to go.”
– So for the Heat, again a case of all hands on deck.
– “Considering some of these moving parts, that has been a positive, that different guys have been able to step up, get some opportunities, and play well,” Spoelstra said. “It’s helped the development with our young guys, for sure. And then, it’s given guys enough experience and enough opportunities where they feel comfortable.”
– Spoelstra added pregame, “And we know what we have to do in terms of game plan and how we want to play, to put ourselves in a position to win. Now, it’s a lot easier said than done. But at least everybody understands what we’re trying to get accomplished.”
– And, no, Spoelstra did not expect the Heat and Timberwolves each to be going into the game at 16-17.
– “I don’t think anybody would have predicted either team would be in this spot,” Spoelstra said. “But, hey, this is what the league is right now. There is incredible parity. It’s really competitive. It’s tough to win on any given night.”
– Robinson’s first 3-pointer was the 800th of his career, six from Tim Hardaway’s franchise career record.
– Robinson’s third point was the 3,000th of his career.
– Robinson’s second basket was the 1,000th of his career.
– With his seventh assist, Herro passed Chris Bosh for 24th on the Heat all-time assists list.