Observations and other notes of interest from Saturday’s 111-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks:
– Perhaps a statement by Erik Spoelstra.
– Or more likely the reality of going with the best man at the moment.
– But Orlando Robinson over Dewayne Dedmon as backup center for the Miami Heat raises a question.
– About more than whether this was related to Dedmon’s Thursday suspension.
– Rather: Is Orlando Robinson good enough to be a backup center on a playoff contender?
– Because there is precious little there when it comes to the offensive end.
– Yes, less than what Dedmon provides (or could provide).
– Granted, backup center may not be a priority.
– And it certainly is possible that an Omer Yurtseven return makes the debate moot.
– But good enough isn’t good enough in the playoffs.
– A small-ball team needs something of substance beyond Bam Adebayo in the middle.
– Particularly if there is foul trouble for Adebayo, as there was Saturday.
– There was a point where the Heat thought they had that in Dedmon.
– They no longer appear to be at that point.
– The Heat were without at least three starters for a third consecutive game, with Tyler Herro (Achilles), Kyle Lowry (knee) and Caleb Martin (quadriceps) again out.
– Martin was a late scratch Saturday, indicating he is closer to a return.
– There continues to be minimal clarity when it has come to the knee discomfort that now has had Lowry out the past three games.
– “We’re still treating him day-to-day,” coach Erik Spoelstra said, “and he’ll continue to be on that protocol until he is ready.”
– That had Gabe Vincent again starting at point guard.
– That left the Heat with the same starting lineup as for Thursday’s victory over the Bucks: Adebayo, Highsmith, Jimmy Butler, Max Strus and Vincent.
– With the appearance, Adebayo tied Joel Anthony for 13th on the Heat all-time list.
– Adebayo tied his career longest streak with his 55th consecutive game scoring in double figures. He also did it at the end of the 2020-21 season.
– The Bucks remained without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, opening with Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portis, Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen.
– Allen had missed Thursday’s game due to an ankle sprain Wednesday night in Atlanta.
– Dedmon again was available for the Heat, after being suspended by the team for Thursday’s game following his outburst at the bench early in Tuesday night’s victory over the Thunder.
– “We’ve talked about it internally,” Spoelstra said. “He’s back with the group. We’re glad to have him back. He feels bad about the incident and we’re moving forward as a group.”
– Spoelstra said dealing on short notice with rotations, both his team’s and the opposition’s, have become almost the norm.
– “That’s our reality all season long and I don’t even think it’s unique to us,” he said. “I think just even these last three years, as a coaching staff, I think we’ve done a lot better. It’s forced us to really be efficient with our time and our game planning and really get to the specifics of what matters the most.”
– Now, even beyond such ongoing COVID absences, it has remained the formula.
– “From that perspective, I’ve enjoyed that challenge of how it’s forced myself and the rest of our staff to grow and continue to get better,” Spoelstra said.
– Victor Oladipo and Orlando Robinson played as the Heat’s first reserves.
– Again putting Robinson ahead of Dedmon.
– Jamal Cain followed.
– Leaving only Dedmon and Udonis Haslem out of the mix from those available.
– The game was the fifth of nine afternoon games (tipoff before 6 p.m. local time) for the Heat this season.