Observations and other notes of interest from Tuesday night’s 100-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers:
– If there truly is outside trade interest in Kyle Lowry, the Heat have to listen, right?
– Because this is becoming a nightly talking point.
– The problem is there is no definitive alternative in place.
– It’s almost as if the Heat have to hope for another Goran Dragic buyout.
– Because at least that didn’t put the Heat at a deficit.
– This time there were no points, no assists, no rebounds from Lowry in the first half.
– Yes, a slight awakening in the second half.
– But this hasn’t been a case of a point guard making a team better.
– And it’s been over a week since the late heroics against the Pelicans.
– For all the bluster about other teams looking at Lowry ahead of the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline (if there is anything to that bluster), it’s as if the Heat, too, have to be looking at point guards.
– Because when Gabe Vincent was called for his fifth foul with 4:19 to play, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra instead subbed in Victor Oladipo.
– Not his high-priced point guard.
– The Heat again were mostly healthy and almost whole.
– The only unavailable players were those who remained behind in Miami for the trip: Omer Yurtyseven (ankle), Nikola Jovic (back) and Duncan Robinson (finger), as well as two-way player Jamal Cain, who is in the G League.
– Jimmy Butler (quad contusion) and Vincent (ankle inflammation) had been listed as questionable earlier in the day but were available.
– So it again was the Heat’s preferred starting five of Butler, Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin, Tyler Herro and Lowry.
– Adebayo moved within one appearance of Dragic for 10th on the Heat all-time list.
– Oladipo and Orlando Robinson again entered together as the Heat’s first two substitutes.
– Vincent followed.
– With Max Strus making it nine deep.
– That had Haywood Highsmith, Dewayne Dedmon and Udonis Haslem out of the mix.
– Dedmon yet to play since his Jan. 12 one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
– Butler’s second 3-point attempt was the 1,800th of his career.
– Butler’s fourth free throw moved him past Buck Williams for 79th on the NBA all-time list, with his fifth moving him past Bernard King for 78th.
– Butler’s third free-throw attempt moved him past Billy Cunningham for 99th on the NBA all-time list.
– Herro’s fourth assist tied Josh Richardson for 18th on the Heat all-time list.
– With the Cavaliers entering No. 5 in the East and the Heat at No. 6, Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the significance was heeded.
– “We talk all the time about having empathy for our opponents and understanding what their mindframe may be,” he said pregame. “So any time a team is in position, where they’re chasing you with an opportunity to catch you, there is a different mindset, especially from a team that’s as proven as that one that’s across the locker room from us.”
– Bickerstaff added, “The Heat have that toughness, that grit, that competitiveness that teams strive for. And whenever they’re in that position, you know it’s going to mean that much more to ‘em and they’re going to go out and try to get it done.”
– He also warned to be careful not to count the Heat out.
– “These guys,” he said, “have the ability in them to step it up when needed most.”
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