The complete Heat with a quality road feat – The Denver Post


Observations and other notes of interest from Wednesday night’s 119-98 victory over the Trail Blazers:

– Yes, this Heat.

– Feisty and focused.

– Jimmy Butler with force.

– Kyle Lowry with moxy.

– Max Strus boosting the bench.

– And just about everyone who played contributing.

– Heck, even a taste of Nikola Jovic.

– This is why the patience from Erik Spoelstra.

– Because they can have enough if enough play to their pedigree.

– On Wednesday night, they did.

– With plenty of complementary pieces complementing.

– When it comes to the Heat’s starting lineup, again copacetic with Caleb Martin back from his one-game suspension, rounded out by Bam Adebayo, Butler, Tyler Herro and Lowry.

– Asked if there was a sample size he would use to evaluate that five-man mix, Spoelstra said pregame, “I don’t know exactly what the game sample will be. But this is still early on.”

– Spoelstra added, “You have to be disciplined to stay true to your process. And it’s not about moral victories. It’s about how are we playing? Are we functioning better?”

– With Martin back, undrafted rookie Jamal Cain was inactive for the fourth time in the season’s first five games.

– Martin was fiery in his return, called for a third-quarter technical foul for hanging on the rim after a third-quarter steal and dunk.

– No, not a good week for the Martin pocketbook.

– Dewayne Dedmon played as the Heat’s first reserve.

– Strus then followed when Martin was called for his second foul.

– With Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson the next two off the Heat bench.

– Eventually, with both of the Heat’s centers in foul trouble, Jovic entered early in the second period.

– In other words, this would have been another game when Omer Yurtseven would have been useful. Instead, he remains out with an ankle injury.

– Spoelstra spoke pregame about former Heat forward Justise Winslow, who since leaving the Heat has played for the Grizzlies, Clippers and now Blazers.

– “I think he has fit in,” Spoelstra said. “And, again, I think the most important thing with Justise is his health. He’s been battling injuries the last couple of years, so it’s been tough for him to find a role where he can really make an impact. But he does so many of the intangibles defensively.”

– Spoelstra added, “He’s an orthodox competitor, because if you try to put him in a conventional box, that’s not necessarily going to [show] all of his strengths. But I think they’ve really brought out his strengths, on both ends of the court.”

– Previously listed as out due to knee tendinosis, the Heat now are listing guard Victor Oladipo on the NBA injury report simply as “not with team.”

– The team said it does not represent a change, but merely is another way to meet NBA reporting requirements.

– Although still sidelined with his ankle issue, Yurtseven said he was glad to make the trip.

– “I mean, we’re always together, whether it be in Miami, here on the road,” he said of his teammates. “Absolutely it’s great. I know that they would rather see me playing rather than sitting on the bench, too. So I’ve just got to get out there and help them, let them help me at the same time. All of it.”

– Martin said a lesson learned from Monday’s suspension for his Saturday fracas against the Raptors. “Especially when you lose, you are going to think that loss is on you. That’s how you learn. I learned from that, make sure I don’t do it again.”

– Spoelstra went in citing more than the backcourt of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons for the Blazers’ early-season success.

– “They’re playing really good basketball right now, overall,” he said. “They’re defending well. They’re playing with great energy. They’re really getting out in transition. That’s probably the biggest difference from last year.”

– He added, “Getting into the open court has really given them a lot of relief points.”

– And, “We know about Lilliard. He’s healthy, so he’s doing it all.”

– Spoelstra, going in, on the Heat’s 3-point defense. “It’s OK. Our transition defense right now has not been to our standard. That’s probably the biggest thing. A lot of those threes have been in transition, particularly those corner threes. We’re capable of doing it better.”



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