Q: Ira, watching Saturday’s Heat-Hornets game raises the question: Who are the Heat really? Was it the second-quarter Heat or the third-quarter Heat? – Bill, Palm Beach Gardens.
A: I’m not sure I would put too much stock into either of those two periods, considering it came against the league-worst Hornets, who are on an eight-game losing streak and were without Gordon Hayward, Cody Martin and Dennis Smith Jr. (let alone being unable to re-sign Miles Bridges due to his legal issues). And it was with LaMelo Ball making an uneven season debut. So I would probably reserve judgment until Monday against the Suns. Basically, what Saturday showed was that when the Heat hit shots, it gets everything else into a flow. And it’s not like the Hornets still didn’t score 25 in that third period (when the Heat scored 45). The Heat are not there yet, but also have not been whole very often, when considering the time missed by Tyler Herro and, before that, Jimmy Butler. So we wait. But I would not put too much stock into the struggles being over simply because there is a two-game winning streak that came solely against the Wembanyama-hunting Hornets.
Q: Ira, is it simply luck that has put the Heat in this situation with two of their main rotation players out for who knows how long? I just can’t believe we could be the rest of the season without these guys with no compensation whatsoever. – Brent, Wellington
A: First a couple of things. There is nothing definitive about either Victor Oladipo or Omer Yurtseven being out for the season. Certainly nowhere near that point with Vic. And I think including Omer as a rotation player is a bit of a stretch. As for Vic, it was always caveat emptor when it came to his injury situation. It’s not as if the Heat had guarantees he would be healthy for this two-year, $18 million deal that includes a player option on the second year. Yes, no one could have seen this coming with Omer. But with Vic, it has been about nothing but injuries for years.
Q: Free Nikola Jovic! – Ant.
A: I’m not sure we’re at the “Free Eddie House!” stage yet with 19-year-old Nikola Jovic. How about we allow him to turn 20?