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Heat take care of business 119-107 in Washington, with ante about to be raised

WASHINGTON — Little was asked and little was required for the Miami Heat over these past two games against the Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards.

Now the calculus changes to higher math than that required in Sunday night’s 119-107 victory over the Wizards at Capital One Arena or Friday night’s 60-point annihilation of the Trail Blazers at Kaseya Center.

Against opponents that now stand at 19-55 (Blazers) and 14-61 (Wizards), it didn’t require Erik Spoelstra or his players to conjure their best.

But next up are four consecutive games against opponents with winning records, starting Tuesday against the New York Knicks at Kaseya Center and continuing against the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers.

“We can’t worry about the next four,” center Bam Adebayo said. “We got to worry about the next one and then we move on.”

So make it mission accomplished against the Blazers and Wizards, and victories in six of the last nine for the Heat (41-33), while going Sunday without Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin.

Terry Rozier, who left briefly in the third period with a sore left knee, led the Heat with 27 points. The Heat also got 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists from Adebayo, 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists from Jimmy Butler and 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists from Nikola Jovic. There also were 10 points from Haywood Highsmith.

“Every game is not going to be easy, like we showed tonight,” Rozier said. “But we feel like we can make our push and we will make our push.”

The Wizards, playing out the string on the way to more lottery balls. were without Bilal Coulibaly, Richaun Holmes, Tyus Jones, Kyle Kuzma, Isaiah Livers, Eugene Omoruyi and Landry Shamet.

Spoelstra said it was a test simply to survive.

“Teams that are out of the playoff running,” he said, “you can play fast and free and you don’t really have the pressure and context that all the teams that are jockeying positions feel. So they can be super ignitable.”

Five Degrees of Heat from Sunday night’s game:

1. Closing time: It was tied 29-29 at the end of the first period, with the Heat then taking a 66-59 lead into halftime, their largest lead of the game to that stage.

The Heat then pushed their lead to 17 in the third period and went into the fourth up 95-80.

Butler and Duncan Robinson then returned after a Heat timeout with 6:42 to play, with Spoelstrs forced to call another timeout as the Wizards closed within 107-97 with 4:17 to play.

A pair of Butler baskets that included a three-point play then helped push the Heat’s lead back to 15, settling matters.

“In the second half when we were able to get some consecutive defensive stops and push it to a double-digit lead,” Spoelstra said, “that was the first time we were able to really create some separation and keep it there. That was encouraging to see.”

2. Early energy: Rozier was just about the Heat’s only early energy, with 20 points by the intermission.

Rozier was up to 8 of 13 from the field at that stage, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers. The rest of the Heat were 3 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half.

Rozier did all of that without a turnover in the first half.

“Terry is getting a lot more comfortable,” Spoelstra said. “He really is pure, he wants to help, he wants to contribute, he wants to make things better and easier with the group.”

It was a mostly lethargic start otherwise for the Heat, with Butler attempting only four first-half shots.

Rozier then went to the Heat locker room with 6:02 left in the third period, replaced by Delon Wright, who promptly drained a 3-pointer on his first shot of the night. Rozier was back on the Heat bench and back in the game before the close of that third period.

“Everything was good and he was cleared,” Spoelstra said.

Rozier said he will be ready for Tuesday night.

“I’m going to get treatment, regardless,” he said. “That’s just being a professional and taking care of your body. But it’s just a little discomfort. I’m good.”

Rozier also tied his career high with four steals, closing 11 of 19 from the field, 5 of 11 on 3-pointers.

3. Robinson returns: Robinson was back after missing the previous five games with a back ailment, returning to the starting lineup.

Out since March 20, Robinson showed the rust early, well short on his first two 3-point attempts, as part of an 0-for-7 Heat start on 3-pointers.

Those two 3-point attempts were Robinson’s only shots in the first half.

Robinson then converted his first two 3-pointers of the second half, leading the Wizards to call time with the Heat up 72-59.

“Always nice to see them go through. Good to get a couple to go,” Robinson said.

It had Spoelstra heartened, as well.

“I think he caught a little bit more of a rhythm in the second half,” Spoelstra said, “not just with the shooting, just where to go and where the actions are and all those things. You can see what he adds. The two back-to-back threes immediately put it to double-digits and that’s what he’s fully capable of.”

Robinson closed 2 of 7 from the field, with each attempt from beyond the arc, in 28 minutes.

“It was an issue that had kind of built up over time a little bit,” Robinson said of the back issue. “So trying to be smart about managing it.

4. Still no Love: On the active roster for the second consecutive game, Kevin Love remained out of the mix, with Thomas Bryant again getting the minutes at center behind Adebayo.

Love still has not played since bruising his right heel in the Feb. 27 loss in Portland. He was in uniform and warmed up before the game.

“I have every intention of getting him back into the mix,” Spoelstra said. “These are fluid decisions when guys are in, out and then we’re trying to keep some level of continuity.

“I’m fully aware of how important K-Love is to us and he’s been great about it. I think with another day of work, he’ll be ready on Tuesday.”

Also out of the mix was guard Patty Mills, who had started the previous five games with Robinson out.

Love and Mills were the only available Heat players not to see action.

5. Martin’s night off: Martin is expected back Tuesday night. He was listed as being out with ankle discomfort, but has been dealing with several ailments, including knee soreness and a splinted thumb.

“He’s been dealing with a few nagging injuries,” Spoelstra said. “They weren’t getting better. We think he’ll feel a lot better with this extended stretch and the two days we had before the last game.”

By sitting Sunday, Martin will have played in only one game over a six-day span if he returns Tuesday.

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