Winderman’s view: Heat run on Duncan on winning night in Charlotte
Observations and other notes of interest from Monday night’s 116-114 victory over the Charlotte Hornets:
– The NBA does not have a Comeback Player of the Year award, so that’s out for Duncan Robinson.
– But there is a Most Improved Player award.
– And the unexpected completeness of Robinson’s game certainly at least deserves consideration.
– Monday night, when Jimmy Butler didn’t get started until the second half, when Kyle Lowry couldn’t get going because of back spasms, and when the roster again was shorthanded, Robinson’s diversity of offense proved essential.
– On this night, a leading man.
– And for more than the 3-pointers.
– Even though there were plenty of them, as well.
– And for more than the team-high 24 points.
– Because there also were the seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
– On a night the Heat largely were incomplete, Robinson largely completed them.
– Another step forward for Robinson.
– And therefore no backslide for the Heat.
– The Heat again opened with Orlando Robinson at center, Calerb Martin at power forward, Jimmy Butler at small forward, Duncan Robinson at shooting guard and Kyle Lowry at point guard.
– Lowry had been questionable until about an hour before tip due to back spasms.
– Lowry, at 37, has yet to miss a game this season due to injury. He sat out one game, on the second night of a back-to-back due to rest.
– The game was the 1,100th regular-season NBA appearance for Lowry.
– Again out for the Heat were starters Bam Adebayo (hip), Tyler Herro (ankle) and Haywood Highsmith (back), as well as Dru Smith (knee) and Nikola Jovic (G League).
– Although Adebayo made the one-game trip, it likely had more to do with his North Carolina roots than any hint of a return.
– “He wanted to be around the guys,” coach Erik Spoelstra said pregame. “He’s making progress. I don’t have a timetable for him. I wouldn’t read too much into it of him being on this trip. We knew he wanted to be here, and he can do his work. So, it’s good.”
– Spoelstra did offer a bit more clarity on the G League stint of 2022 first-round pick Jovic.
– The plan is for Jovic to play with the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Tuesday in Detroit and Friday in Chicago and then return to the Heat.
– He then likely will rejoin the Skyforce for next week’s G League Showcase in Orlando, which coincides with the Heat’s visit to Orlando against the Magic.
– “This will be a two-game stint, come back, and hopefully go back for the Showcase and we’ll keep it fluid,” Spoelstra said. “But the idea is to get him game time. He’s had two really good weeks since he came back from Sioux Falls, with his development. Obviously, it’s all behind the scenes, but we want to get him game minutes as much as possible.”
– Duncan Robinson opened the Heat’s scoring with a 3-pointer after going 0 for 7 in Friday night’s loss to the Cavaliers.
– And kept going from there.
– Kevin Love, Josh Richardson and Jaime Jaquez Jr. entered together in the Heat’s first substitution.
– Followed by the first action in four games for Thomas Bryant.
– As for the Hornets, former Heat guard Marcus Garrett has signed with their G League team.
– Hornets guard Terry Rozier had praise for the Heat going in.
– “Just a super-disciplined team,” he said at the morning shootaround, “they’re going to play the same way no matter if they’re up by 15 or down by 15. It’s going to be a great test for us, at this point in our season, these next two games.”
– The Heat host the Hornets on Wednesday night.
– Going in, Hornets coach Steve Clifford said his team would like to emulate the Heat’s high percentage of kick-out 3-pointers.
– He cited Duncan Robinson’s ability to work for a variety of attempts off such passes, noting his uniqueness.
– Proving prescient.