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Winderman’s view: A familiar Heat result – We Have Enough 1, Doubt 0

CLEVELAND – Observations and other notes of interest from Wednesday  night’s 129-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers:

– We Have Enough 1, Doubt 0.

– It’s almost as if this is who the Heat are.

– So no Bam Adebayo?

– Thomas Bryant and Orlando Robinson step up to the moment.

– After barely stepping on the court previously.

– Against one of the NBA’s biggest frontcourts, the Heat somewhat managed to stand tallest Wednesday night, as Adebayo rested recurring hip soreness.

– So Bryant did enough.

– Robinson did enough.

– And, yes, the Heat had enough, even on a night there also was no Tyler Herro or Kevin Love.

– This stretch of 9 of 10 on the road, as part of the overall start of 12 of the first 17 on the road, was supposed to be a road to ruin.

– Instead, plenty of home games remaining, while still playing from a position of advantage in the standings.

– So even while shorthanded, New York next, with Friday against the Knicks, Saturday against the Nets.

– With Adebayo and Herro out, the Heat opened with their ninth lineup in their 15 games, starting Bryant at center, along with Haywood Highsmith, Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry.

– Butler entered 55 points from 14,000 for his career, but mostly focused as set-up man in this one.

– Jamie Jaquez Jr. played as the first reserve off the bench, after Duncan Robinson got in early foul trouble.

– With Orlando Robinson then getting his first meaningful minutes since Oct. 30.

– Caleb Martin followed.

– And then Josh Richardson for nine deep.

– That left Dru Smith as the lone available Heat player not to see action in the first period, with the Heat dressing 10.

– Smith then entered early in the second period when Duncan Robinson was called for his third foul.

– Only to be helped to the bench moments later, after only 1:21 of action, with a knee injury after a misstep.

– Duncan Robinson extended his streak of games with a 3-pointer to 15, tying Josh Richardson (2018-19) for the fifth-longest such streak to open a season in franchise history. The record is Tim Hardaway, who did it in his first 28 appearances in 1998-99. Robinson previously had two streaks of at least his first 21 appearances of a season.

– Richardson’s second 3-point attempt moved him past Dan Majerle and Voshon Lenard for ninth on the Heat all-time list.

– With Love away for a personal reason, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he was comfortable having Bryant and Orlando Robinson available from the power rotation.

– “They both have really prepared,” he said, “and that’s the depth that you need throughout the course of a season.”

– Spoelstra was asked at the morning shootaround about Max Strus elevating his career to the point of last summer’s free-agency payday with the Cavaliers.

– “He’s another one of those just amazing stories,” Spoelstra said. “The fact that he had to show that much grit to go Division II and then transfer to DePaul and then go undrafted and then basically work through three teams and two teams saying no basically at some point, dealing with an injury. Just a great deal of grit,” Spoelstra said of a journey that initially included time for Strus with the Celtics and Bulls, with whom Strus sustained a serious knee injury.”

– Adebayo had some fun at the morning shootaround when Strus was mentioned.

– “He sucks. Bad teammate. Terrible teammate. Never want him on my team again,” he said in jest, before adding, “No, it’s definitely great to have Max.”

– Adebayo continued, “We built that man from the ground up. We made him grow the hair on his chest. The Strus is Loose started with us.”

– Spoelstra went in with flowers for the Cavaliers’ defense.

– “The first thing you have to respect is their defense,” he said. “They can hold teams down, they protect the paint, they protect the rim better than any team in the league. So you really have to work different aspects of their menu to loosen up the defense.”

– The Heat, of course, entered with their smaller lineup, with Highsmith, a career wing, opening at power forward.

– “It’s a challenge,” Adebayo said of matchups with the smaller lineup against bigger opponents, “but that’s why we have a mad scientist as a coach.”

– With Adebayo out, the scientist had to get even bolder.

– Asked about his defense with Adebayo out, Spoelstra said, “We’ve been switching less so the schematics won’t change necessarily. But yes, Bam is a dynamic team defender. It will look different. We feel comfortable that those guys have gotten enough reps and everybody understands what their job is.”

– The Cavaliers were without Donovan Mitchell, with a hamstring injury.

– “It’s just a matter of him trying to get healthy,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said pregame. “We will always do what we have to do to make sure guys are right. They have to go through those steps and not skip those steps.”

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