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Winderman’s view: Heat now at the leading-men-or-bust portion of their season

ATLANTA — Observations and other notes of interest from Tuesday night’s 117-111 double-overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks:

– That Tyler Herro continues to step up is encouraging.

– As is Jimmy Butler playing more in attack mode.

– Bam Adebayo hitting threes.

– And Nikola Jovic continues to emerge.

– But on the other end of the spectrum, the Heat’s role players continue to show their limitations.

– Jaime Jaquez Jr. appears to be hitting a wall.

– Caleb Martin couldn’t hit a shot in this one.

– Kevin Love has ceded minutes at backup center to Jovic.

– Which only confirms the obvious: It will be about the Heat’s leading men going forward.

– Including when Terry Rozier returns from his neck spasms.

– The playoffs are about leading men, anyway.

– When rotations get tighter.

– Which could leave Jaquez on the outside.

– So, in many ways, we’re back to where we started:

– Butler, Adebayo, Herro …  or bust.

– This time no Duncan Robinson and Rozier.

– Robinson likely to miss multiple games with the return of his back issue.

– Rozier back perhaps as soon as Wednesday night against the Mavericks at Kaseya Center.

– This time the wheel of lineups stopped on Adebayo, Jovic, Butler, Herro and Martin, another supporting player who struggled Tuesday night.

– It was the fourth time the Heat opened with that lineup, entering at 1-2.

– It was Herro’s first start since Feb. 23, the game he went out late in the fourth quarter in New Orleans and then missed the next 20 games before returning this past Friday.

– Tuesday’s starting unit also started that game in New Orleans.

– Jovic extended his career-best streak to 15 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer.

– Love and Jaquez entered together in the Heat’s first substitution.

– Haywood Highsmith followed, playing as the best of the Heat’s complementary components..

– And then former Hawk Delon Wright for nine deep.

– Which stood as the extent of the primary rotation.

– Former Hawks Patty Mills out of the mix.

– Heat coach Erik Spoelstra addressed at the morning shootaround the mindset of this closing week.

– “Again, that’s the discipline,” he said. “There are so many different emotions that are going through our team and all the other teams that are grappling for position. It’s no different. It’s how you manage those emotions and how much you’re able to just focus on the task at hand.”

– He added, “There are so many different scenarios. You could go dizzy looking at all of that. And all it does is get you off the task and the process.”

– Of that needed mindset, Rozier said, “You can only focus on one game at a time. But we know what’s at stake, we know that we need to win every game from this point on. We have three, four games left. We know how important it is.”

– Rozier added, “Nobody is going to feel sorry for ourselves. We kind of dug ourselves in this hole, so we got to do everything we can to get out of it.”

– That was offered before Rozier was ruled out.

– Asked whether Herro, now three games back in his return from foot tendinitis after missing 20 games, was up to play both ends of this back-to-back set, Spoelstra said, “We’ll find out. We’re treating everything and everybody day to day. His body will let us know. He’s come out of these two games in a great place and we’ll just see how he feels after tonight’s game. We’ll make that decision.”

– The game opened the Heat’s 13th and final back-to-back of the season. The Heat entered the set 7-5 on the first nights, 6-6 on the second of such back-to-backs.

– It was the 239th double-figure scoring game for Herro, tying Hassan Whiteside for 14th place on the Heat all-time list.

– With his first defensive rebound, Highsmith set a single-season high. His previous high had been 131 in 2022-23.

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