Winderman’s view: Heat celebrate Wade, then celebrate against Hornets on win-win night
MIAMI — Observations and other notes of interest from Sunday night’s 104-87 victory over the Charlotte Hornets:
– The Heat gave Dwyane Wade another night on Sunday, honoring his induction this past August in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
– And then revealed that there will be another night for Wade next season.
– With Heat President Pat Riley announcing at halftime that the team next fall will unveil a Wade statue in front of Kaseya Center.
– It was an announcement that caught Wade off guard and moved him to tears.
– “I’m so grateful,” Wade said at center court.
– “When we retired his jersey in 2020,” Riley said, “I said Dwyane was the face of this franchise forever and I meant it. Dwyane’s legacy is a towering one not only for the Miami Heat, but for Wade county.”
– Riley added, “I can’t think of a better way to honor him than by memorializing that legacy.”
– In a release issued at halftime, the Heat said, “Sculptors Omri Amrany and Oscar León of Fine Art Studio Rotblatt Amrany have been commissioned to create the Wade statue. Amrany’s works of retired NBA stars include the iconic ‘Michael Jordan Spirit’ in Chicago, as well as statues of Shaquille O’Neal, Dirk Nowitzki and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among many others. León’s works include a bronze of baseball Hall of Famer Nellie Fox as well as several commercial installations.”
– Amrany and León in the statement said, “We are honored and excited to capture the essence of Dwyane Wade. It is a privilege for both the athlete to be immortalized and for us, as artists, to create a statue that celebrates a lifetime of excellence. We dreamed about this for many years and now, it’s a reality!”
– As for the game, yes, the Heat maximized their four-game homestand by going 3-1.
– But it was maximized for more than the three wins.
– It allowed an extended look at Nikola Jovic as starter.
– It afforded Haywood Highsmith and Caleb Martin the opportunity to work their way back into the rotation.
– It gave Jimmy Butler all the time off he needed.
– In that regard, appreciation is due the Rockets, Magic and Hornets, who proved to be the right guests at the right time.
– With the Thunder showing the strides that still need to be made.
– To a degree this was a step forward from a lineup perspective, with the Heat going with a first five used four previous times.
– That was after unveiling a 21st lineup in Friday night’s victory over the Magic.
– The Heat opened Sunday with Bam Adebayo, Jovic, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry.
– In addition to again being without Butler due to his ongoing toe issue, the Heat also were without Kevin Love due to a knee bruise.
– Then Jaquez was lost for the second half with a groin strain..
– As for Love, he has been an anchor of the second unit.
– “He’s a glue guy. He’s a connector,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said pregame. “He makes a lot of lineups look better, and that’s what great players do. He’s fully embraced this role. We’ve embraced him, as well. He’s a value add big time.”
– Spoelstra added, “It doesn’t take a lot to figure out why it works. If you can get a player at this stage of their careers where they embraced this kind role, that’s a great thing.”
– But with Highsmith and Martin back from their recent injuries, Spoelstra said the depth still was there.
– “We have other guys who have been playing and stepping up,” Spoelstra said of being without Love, “and thankfully we have some other guys that are back.”
– The Heat’s first two 3-point attempts were by Jovic and Adebayo. Both missed.
– Highsmith played as the Heat’s first reserve, entering for Adebayo, with Jovic moving to center.
– Highsmith then started the second half when Jaquez was lost with a strained left groin.
– The teams opened a combined 0 for 10 on 3-pointers.
– With Duncan Robinson shortly thereafter summoned off the bench as the Heat’s second reserve.
– With Josh Richardson also entering during that substitution.
– Martin then made it nine deep for Spoelstra.
– At that point, the only available players yet to see action were Thomas Bryant and Orlando Robinson.
– The Hornets, without sidelined Gordon Hayward and Brandon Miller, opened with Nick Richards, Miles Bridges, LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Cody Martin, twin brother of the Heat’s Caleb Martin.
– Spoelstra said Ball being back from injury changes the dynamic of the Hornets.
– “The pace that he can bring and the way that he can set up other guys is unique,” Spoelstra said. “And that’s so much of this league, is whether you can get your bodies out there. When they’ve been able to have the majority of their guys, which they don’t, Haywood is out, it’s an explosive offensive team.”
– Of his team’s woes, Hornets coach Steve Clifford said pregame, “We’ve lost our pace. We’re not inside-out anymore. We’ve got to get back to playing faster.”
– Of his team’s roster situation, Clifford said, “They’ve done a good job, but we just need better play from those guys. It’s not easy. We have a bunch of younger guys that are playing minutes that are challenging for them. It’s a great opportunity, but it’s also a responsibility.”
– Among those on Clifford’s Hornets coaching staff is former Heat guard Rex Walters, the former FAU coach, and former Heat forward Tyrone Corbin.
– Richardson addressed the crowd pregame as the Heat unfurled an “I Have a Dream” banner pregame ahead of Monday’s holiday
– The game concluded the four-game season series against the Hornets.
– The Heat entered on a 21-game home winning streak against the Southeast Division.
– The Heat also entered 9-0 overall against the Southeast.