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Winderman’s view: And now the Heat back on the Jimmy Butler injury watch after loss

Observations and other notes of interest from Saturday night’s 117-109 loss to the Utah Jazz:

– And here we go again.

– Jimmy Butler back.

– And then Jimmy Butler back out.

– Saturday’s return cameo after missing four games due to a calf strain.

– Then into the locker room and done for the night in the third period with a foot injury.

– So much for only the eighth time this season  the Heat have had Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Butler available for the same game.

– As the heavy lifting has to continue for Herro and Adebayo.

– And, yes, the Heat have found a win to preserve through injuries.

– But at some point you have to have continuity.

– Preferably for an extended period ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA trading deadline.

– So another Butler injury watch.

– And on it goes for this roster loaded with 30-somethings.

– As it was, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra opened with a unique lineup twist, giving Nikola Jovic his second start of the season.

– It was the 10th start of the 2022 first-round pick out of Serbia.

– It added up to the Heat’s league-leading 18th lineup in their 32 games.

– The other Heat starters were Butler, Adebayo,  Herro and RJ Hampton, who made his second consecutive start.

– The lone players Heat under contract yet to start this season are Dru Smith, who is out with a season-ending knee injury, and Cole Swider, who is on a two-way contract.

– The Jazz opened with a lineup of Simone Fontecchio, Lauri Markkanen, John Collins, Collin Sexton and Kris Dunn.

– Spoelstra downplayed players such as Jaime Jaquez Jr. (illness), Butler and Duncan Robinson (ankle) being cleared so close to game time.

– “I literally do not look at that injury report,” he said. “I mean, it looks absurd and it’s really so we don’t get our hands slapped by the league.”

– Jaquez and Kevin Love entered together as the Heat’s first two reserves.

– Followed by Robinson.

– And then Haywood Highsmith for nine deep.

– That had Jamal Cain, a star of Thursday night’s victory over the Warriors, shuffled out of the mix until he entered late in the third period.

– The game was the 99th appearance of Highsmith’s NBA career.

– Highsmith then started the second half in place of Hampton.

– The Heat’s first 15 points did not come with an assist.

– Apparently they gave away too many of them during the Stockton era in Utah.

– Spoelstra, a Steve Kerr assistant for USA Basketball, spoke pregame of coaching Jazz center Walker Kessler, the nephew of late Heat center Alec Kessler, at the World Cup in the Philippines.

– “I really enjoyed him,” Spoelstra said. “What a great experience for a young player to be able to compete in FIBA and be around a bunch of great players. It was really a fruitful experience for all of us. Competing at FIBA is humbling. It’s tough. Nothing is a given. For me it felt like a different sport, trying to figure this thing out.”

– Team USA did not medal in the event.

– Spoelstra continued of Kessler, “But he provided great depth and then he started to earn more opportunities as the tournament went on. And he did a really good job of picking up the defensive principles, but also because of his size and his knack for the ball and offensive rebounding, it gave our team a different element at the rim, which was really helpful.”

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