Observations and other notes of interest from Wednesday’s 134-121 loss to the Boston Celtics:
– On any other night, arguably against any other opponent, this would have been about Max Strus’ third quarter.
– When the Heat forward scored 19 points in playing all 12 minutes in the quarter, shooting 5 of 7 on 3-pointers.
– Against a team that had cut him when he was attempting to break in as a rookie.
– The problem on this night is that he wasn’t Jayson Tatum.
– No matter.
– It was a royal effort in front of the Royals.
– For the Heat it also was reaffirmation of the developmental program.
– Even if it means next paying, when Strus hits free agency in July.
– This is what the Heat thought New England native Duncan Robinson would be.
– Soon enough, when Jimmy Butler returns, Strus will be the bench boost.
– At least if the Heat can make it work with Tyler Herro as starter.
– If not for Strus, this would have been over before the start of the fourth.
– Now the Heat need it again Friday, when the teams meet again at TD Garden.
– While Butler remained out with his knee soreness, expected to return Friday in Boston, most of those listed as questionable on the injury report earlier in the day were available.
– With the exception of Dewayne Dedmon.
– Otherwise, Gabe Vincent, Robinson and Nikola Jovic were available.
– The Heat opened with a lineup of Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin, Strus, Herro and Kyle Lowry.
– With the start, Lowry tied Richard Jefferson for 100th on the NBA all-time list.
– Lowry has started each of his last 655 appearances.
– With his start, Adebayo tied Hassan Whiteside for 15th on the Heat all-time list, at 259.
– Herro third 3-point attempt moved him past Wayne Ellington for 11th on the Heat all-time list.
– The Celtics opened with Al Horford, Tatum, Jalen Brown, Marcus Smart and Derrick White.
– With Dedmon out, Udonis Haslem played as the Heat’s first big man off the bench.
– The Heat’s first three reserves were Gabe Vincent, Haywood Highsmith and Haslem.
– With Robinson following.
– Unclear was whether Jovic’s foot issue was still limiting.
– Typically, the absence of Dedmon would not be overstated.
– At 33, occasional time off makes sense.
– But plantar fasciitis is an ailment that requires ongoing management.
– Which is not necessarily the preferred approach when also having Omer Yurtseven out for an extended period following recent ankle surgery.
– Again, there are veteran big men available at the minimum, or even a prorated portion of the minimum, until Dedmon finds additional injury relief.
– Including Tristan Thompson.
– But the reality is there are not many big things available at Erik Spoelstra’s disposal.
– So on this night, Haslem.
– Meanwhile, Victor Oladipo had a lengthy pregame workout.
– Oladipo worked through the end of the Heat’s warmup time, worked while teammates were in the locker room meeting pregame, and still was out while the Celtics began their 15-minute session prior to game, and as Heat took the court.
– Spoelstra said earlier in the day that Oladipo, yet to make his season debut, would not play on this trip.
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