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Winderman’s view: Duncan Robinson’s return also a win for the Heat

MIAMI — Observations and other notes of interest from Friday night’s 112-91 NBA play-in victory over the Chicago Bulls:

– No, not necessarily among Friday night’s biggest storylines on a night the Heat found their way to victory in the absences of Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier.

– Certainly not bigger than Tyler Herro’s effort.

– But perhaps among the most significant.

– Because to compete against the Celtics, it likely will have to come over the top from the Heat.

– As in the shooting of Duncan Robinson.

– While not necessarily up to full speed, merely having Robinson on the court at least presents hope of a hot hand.

– Arguably the lone remaining rotation player capable of such a hot hand front beyond the arc.

– Back injuries, of course, are a great unknown.

– And there already has been one aborted Robinson comeback.

– With this just a limited return.

– But where Robinson’s lack of an appearance Wednesday night in Philadelphia created further angst, there now is hope.

– Of something over the top.

– Which might be the only way against the Celtics for the Butler-less Heat.

– If there is to be hope.

– With Butler and Rozier, the Heat opened with a lineup of Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jovic, Herro, Caleb Martin and Jaime Jaquez Jr.

– It was the first time this season that Heat opened with those five.

– Highwood Highsmith was first off the Heat bench.

– Kevin Love followed.

– Then it was Delon Wright.

– With Robinson then entering for the first time in six games.

– After battling a back issue that had him out 10 of the previous 15 games.

– Asked at the morning shootaround about the onus being on himself and Herro, Adebayo said, “It’s our opportunity. We’ve always had little stints of this, but it’s our opportunity right now.”

– Herro certainly seized the moment.

– As did Adebayo with his offense.

– The Heat at the morning shootaround refused to concede anything about the team’s injuries.

– “We’ve shown it in the past where guys go down, that’s part of the game,” Martin said. “Guys go down, guys have to step up, that’s part of our culture, too.”

– So Jaquez stepped up.

– Of someone potentially stepping up, Adebayo said Friday morning, “A lot of us got here on opportunities when other people left the door open. And you’ve got to be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”

– Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on being without sidelined Butler and Rozier, “I really feel for him. I feel for Terry. They’re competitors at their hearts and their soul.”

– Spoelstra was asked pregame about the emergence of Bulls guard Coby White.

– “His confidence level has gone up. His usage rate has gone up. The ball’s in his hands more,” Spoelstra said. “They lead the league in volume of pick-and-rolls, and he’s involved in a lot of ’em. But he’s just grown as a player.”

– Spoelstra added, “He’s had to weather some ups and downs during his career, and you have to respect somebody who’s kind of done it in a different path, where it didn’t happen necessarily immediately.”

– The Heat then clamped down on White to a point of no return for the emerging Bulls guard.

– Spoelstra said that certain comparisons could be made between the rise of White and the rise of the 76ers Tyrese Maxey, who the Heat faced Wednesday night.

– Bulls coach BIlly Donovan said preparation was altered given the Heat injury situation.

– “I think that everybody in the NBA has had to deal with something along those lines. We’ve had to deal with it. They’ve had to deal with it,” he said pregame. “They dealt with it last year, when they went on an incredible run all the way to the Finals, right?”

– Paige Bueckers was among the faces in the crowd.

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