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Winderman’s view: Even with more pieces, Heat left at loss in rotation reshuffle

MIAMI – Observations and other notes of interest from Monday night’s 112-108 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves:

– It was a game, even in defeat, that opened a window to what this all eventually could look like.

– Now that Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro are back.

– Even with a temporary wait on Kyle Lowry.

– But you can see where Erik Spoelstra possibly is headed.

– Which means Duncan Robinson providing the 3-point boost again off the bench.

– With either Adebayo or Kevin Love at center.

– (And possibly neither Orlando Robinson nor Thomas Bryant at all.)

– With Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith both to remain part of the mix.

– With there always a place for such defenders, particularly in the zone.

– While very much determined to keep Jaime Jaquez Jr. in a flow.

– And that’s not even mentioning Jimmy Butler.

– So 10 deep with Lowry back?

– Or Josh Richardson on the rotation bubble?

– With Herro and Adebayo back, but with Lowry (soreness) out, the Heat opened with their 15th lineup in their 27 games.

– This time it was Adebayo, Herro, Butler, Love and Martin.

– The Timberwolves’ size with Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns clearly factored in the move to a bigger starting power rotation.

– The question remains who is out when Lowry returns.

– Jaquez played as the Heat’s first reserve, entering for Love, as the Heat downsized, with Love almost immediately returning in place of Adebayo.

– That approach mitigated the need for backup centers Orlando Robinson and Bryant.

– Richardson then entered for Martin.

– With Duncan Robinson followed for Herro for eight deep.

– And then Highsmith for Butler, making it nine deep.

– Spoelstra said going in that there were no preset expectations with Herro or Adebayo.

– “The game will decide,” he said. “The game will let us know. But we’re excited to have them back, and we’ll start moving forward with this group. But everything is unpredictable in this league. We didn’t anticipate we’d have injuries. You just have to deal with what is thrown at you, but today was a very uplifting day having everyone at shootaround.”

– Of fitting Herro back in, Spoelstra said, “We’re excited to have his skillset. He does so many things to help your offense, and his game has really grown. And we just want to have all of our weapons available.”

– Asked pregame about Jaquez making strides in Herro’s absence and being able to continue, Spoelstra said, “I think they’ll fit seamlessly. The games will let us know, but they’re super skilled. They’re both versatile. They both can play with the ball, without the ball. I think we can run two-man actions with them.”

– Spoelstra added, “Really good players, they figure it out and they find a way to complement each other and complement your offense. We’re just excited to have the weapons and all our talent available.”

– Of whether Lowry will be given additional time off, Spoelstra said, “We treat everything on a game-by-game basis.”

– With Lowry out, RJ Hampton was active for the Heat. The Heat two other two-way players, Cole Swider and Jamal Cain, were inactive.

– For a rare time, Spoelstra took note pregame of where the Heat stood in the East.

– “We’re fifth in the East right now,” he said. “We like where we’ve been playing, but this is not where we ultimately want to be. So we want to have our guys and put some things together, and hopefully put together some good weeks and months and prepare for the second season.”

– Timberwolves coach Chris Finch brushed aside the Heat being closer to whole.

– “They win through any circumstance,” he said.

– The Heat entered having scored at least 115 in four in a row, two games off the franchise record, set in February 2020.

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