Observations and other notes of interest from Saturday’s 115-111 loss to the San Antonio Spurs:
– The preferred starting lineup was back in place.
– The injury list was as limited as it has been in a while.
– So this basically is who the Heat are.
– And that makes this week particularly sobering.
– You lose to the Pistons, at least the excuse of no Jimmy Butler.
– You lose to the shorthanded, resting-everyone Grizzlies, at least the reality of the end of an eight-day trip.
– But this was against a team that had just snapped an 11-game losing streak.
– Tied for the worst record in the Western Conference.
– And there the Heat stood, late in the fourth quarter and trailing.
– Shooting threes, twice, when they just needed two to tie.
– At a point when Jimmy Butler was working his way to the foul line.
– So a possession with an offensive rebound and no Butler touch.
– Now with a four-game trip looming.
– So much for the soft spots on the schedule.
– Nothing at this stage can be assumed.
– Including the upcoming road games against the Thunder, Rockets and Spurs.
– And, so, more misery.
– Again a team with seemingly little desire for victories.
– So, yes . . . rock . . . bottom.
– For just the 10th time this season, the Heat had their preferred starting lineup of Bam Adebayo, Butler, Caleb Martin, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry.
– The Heat, in fact, were mostly whole, with Gabe Vincent (knee) the lone rotation player sidelined.
– The other sidelined players were Omer Yurtseven, who is recovering from ankle surgery, and Jamal Cain and Nikola Jovic, who are on G League assignment.
– Even in a game like this, it is doubtful that Erik Spoelstra would have utilized Jovic.
– Questionable before the game but available was backup center Dewayne Dedmon.
– With the start, Butler tied Dan Majerle for 21st on the Heat all-time list.
– The Spurs opened with Tre Jones, Malaki Branham, Keldon Johnson, Romeo Langford and Zach Collins.
– Victor Oladipo and Max Strus entered as the Heat’s first two reserves.
– Dedmon then played as the third reserve.
– Spoelstra did not go nine deep until Duncan Robinson entered midway through the third period.
– It’s as if Spoelstra is on a quest to find a bench that works.
– So Haywood Highsmith shuffled out.
– All that talk going into the season of depth?
– Idle chatter.
– It’s not as if Vincent has been a panacea this season.
– There is nothing close to the bench boost that Herro provided last season.
– It’s almost down to a second-unit hope and a prayer with Oladipo.
– Who fouled out in the fourth quarter when needed most.
– Although he did provide a bench spark.
– Arguably the Heat only bench spark.
– Herro’s fourth 3-pointer was the 450th of his career.
– Butler’s third assist moved him past Kevin Edwards with 10th on the Heat all-time list.
– Dedmon’s first block was the 400th of his career.
– Crazy that the Gregg Popovich Spurs rank last in the NBA in offese.
– Then again, few have played the lottery game better than San Antonio.
– David Robinson, Exhibit A.
– Tim Duncan, Exhibit B.
– Next up . . . Victor Wembanyama?
– No, not a good night when it came to the Heat protecting that paint at the point of attack.
– And this was not a team getting all those paint points from the post.
– Just a bad, bad night.
– To cap a bad, bad week.