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Winderman’s view: After cruise control, non-deferential Butler needed next for Heat

WASHINGTON — Observations and other notes of interest from Sunday night’s 119-107 victory over the Washington Wizards:

– If Jimmy Butler Week is about to follow, then everything else is a non-issue.

– Including the passive start Sunday, before late and needed on-demand scoring.

– And the lack of a breakout game in two weeks.

– Perhaps it’s the lingering remnants of his illness.

– Perhaps it’s allowing others to thrive, as Terry Rozier did Sunday.

– Perhaps it’s merely waiting for this moment at hand.

– With huge games now following against the Knicks, 76ers, Rockets and Pacers.

– And that’s the thing with Butler, wondering about what is next.

– Mostly, when that “it” moment is about to happen.

– This week would be as good a time as any.

– Affording greater confidence that Playoff Jimmy is about to follow.

– Yes, there is something to be said about pacing oneself at 34.

– But there also is plenty to be said about giving oneself a week off before the playoffs, rather than having to push through the play-in round.

– At one point, Rozier was up to 15 shots when Butler stood at five.

– With Duncan Robinson back from his back issue, the Heat opened with a lineup of Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jovic, Butler, Rozier and Robinson.

– That lineup entered 4-5.

– Robinson had missed the previous five games with left facet syndrome, with coach Erik Spoelstra embracing the return.

– “It is good,” Spoelstra said. “Considering everything, we’re encouraged where we are right now from a health standpoint and where we’re trending.”

– The only injuries for the Heat were the absences of Caleb Martin (ankle), Tyler Herro (foot) and Josh Richardson (shoulder).

– Orlando Robinson, Cole Swider and Alondes Williams were back with the Heat after the Heat’s G League affiliate closed out its regular season Saturday.

– The Sioux Falls Skyforce advanced to the G League playoffs after finishing second in that Western Conference under coach Kasib Powell, the former Heat forward.

– “I really commend Kasib and the staff and the players,” Spoelstra said. “It feels like there were six or seven mini-seasons within one season. Just all the changes in personnel and the successes have been significant with the fact that we had a lot of call-ups and guys have gotten a lot better. And we’ve said that it’s either going to happen with us or somewhere else, that’s the whole point of that league and our developmental program. We want to serve players to do that.”

– Spoelstra added, “Now, we also want to have success and I think Kasib has done a really good job managing all of that this season and keeping the ship going in the right direction. We all watched the game last night. But we’re encouraged that we get the No. 2 seed and still have to do it in the playoffs.”

– Haywood Highsmith and Jaime Jaquez Jr. entered together first off the Heat bench.

– With former Wizard Delon Wright third off the Heat bench.

– And then Thomas Bryant for nine deep.

– Instead of Kevin Love, who was active.

– A starter the previous five games, Patty Mills this time was shuffled out of the Heat mix.

– Adebayo’s first steal was the 500th of his career.

– Spoelstra watched from the team plane as Nova Southeastern fell Saturday on a late 3-pointer in the NCAA Division II championship game.

– Having spent time with Nova coach Jim Crutchfield and studied his system in Davie, Spoelstra offered empathy.

– “I watched it on the plane actually because that’s when the game was happening and they were down almost 10 points in the second half,” Spoelstra said. “They came storming back and really looked like they were going to make the plays necessary to win. But I tip my hat to coach Crutchfield. What he’s done at Nova really is amazing. I have so much respect for him. He’s a unique basketball thinker and mind.”

– Spoelstra added, “If I were 19, 20 years old and I was a good player down here in South Florida, I would definitely go there. That’s a fun style of basketball. You play at a high level. You’re coached extremely well, You get to compete for championships, and it looks like they just had some amazing memories and experiences from that. It was a tough loss, but there’s a lot to be proud of from this year.”

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