Winderman’s view: Age, rest, geography now Heat’s opponents after loss in Boston?
Observations and other notes of interest from Friday night’s 119-111 loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden:
– Going to be interesting to see how Erik Spoelstra handles the back end of this first of 13 Heat back-to-back sets this season on Saturday night in Minnesota.
– This is, after all, a team that starts 34-year-old Jimmy Butler, 35-year-old Kevin Love and 37-year-old Kyle Lowry.
– It also is a team with not much in the way of proven depth behind Love at power forward and Lowry at point guard, albeit with a solid effort Friday from Dru Smith.
– Plus, the Timberwolves game is non-conference, and therefore less significant when it comes to potential playoff tiebreakers.
– As it is, Butler has only played in four of the eight games against the Timberwolves since joining the Heat, having previously forced his way out of Minnesota.
– Including only two of the Heat’s four visits.
– With a 1-3 record as Heat opponent.
– Still, a back-to-back going from Boston to Minnesota?
– The first week of the season?
– The Heat again opened with a lineup of Butler, Love, Lowry, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro.
– This time Lowry shot early, converting a 3-pointer with 10:08 to play in the opening period, after waiting until late in the fourth in the opener for his first and only shot, which he missed.
– He kept going from there, as was needed.
– The bench rotation was altered with Caleb Martin held out due to the knee pain that has been ongoing since the offseason.
– Smith played as the Heat’s first sub, entering midway through the first period for Herro. He shot and defended well.
– Duncan Robinson then followed.
– With Thomas Bryant third off the Heat bench.
– And Jaime Jaquez Jr. making it nine deep.
– Without Martin, Haywood Highsmith and Josh Richardson, Jamal Cain also played in the Heat rotation.
– Spoelstra at the morning shootaround addressed the Celtics’ offseason acquisitions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis.
– Of Holiday, he said, “He fits in very well. He’s a winner. I think you could put him on any team and he’ll figure it out. He’s going to complement guys on the roster. He’s an elite defender, as we know. He’s an elite competitor.”
– Spoelstra added, “He fills in a bunch of different gaps offensively. He’s aggressive, but he also knows how to play off other guys, which is really a compliment to a winning mentality.”
– And of Porzingis, he said, “No doubt that he gives them something different, more space. He was really good in that opener against New York. When he’s healthy, he’s always been a really tough guy to scheme against, because of his size, his shooting ability. He has one of the quicker releases in the league. And it definitely looks like he’s moving a lot better.”
– The Celtics warmed up in “Maine” shirts in memory of the shooting victims there. The Celtics’ G League affiliate is based in Portland, Maine.
– The Celtics also played with a “Maine” patch in remembrance of those killed in Lewiston.
– In addition, there also was a pregame moment of silence.