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Winderman’s view: Nothing wrong with Heat at 10-7 after 12 of first 17 on road

NEW YORK — Observations and other notes of interest from Saturday night’s 112-97 loss to the Brooklyn Nets:

– If not for a pair of blown 21-point leads, this could have been a 4-1 trip.

– Instead, 2-3.

– But there still is upside.

– With Saturday closing the Heat’s opening run of 12 of 17 on the road, 10-7 hardly is the worst outcome.

– Yes, some got away.

– But this wasn’t in that category.

– This was making sure Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were right for what comes next.

– An actual homestand.

– No, the competition over these first 17 hardly was overwhelming, but the travel was.

– So rest, recover, regroup.

– And throw this one out.

– With not only no Adebayo or Butler, but also no Tyler Herro and no Duncan Robinson.

– In the interim, the Heat learned what they have in Jaime Jaquez Jr.

– Got a bit of a revival from Josh Richardson.

– Saw possibilities with Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love.

– And perhaps just as significantly, also have come to appreciate where upgrades still are needed.

– It was an eclectic starting five for the Heat, who opened with Thomas Bryant, Haywood Highsmith, Jaquez, Richardson and Lowry.

– To his credit, that had Lowry, at 37, pushing through both ends of the back-to-back set that opened with Friday night’s stinging loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, when the Heat blew a 20-point lead.

– With Adebayo, Butler, Robinson and Herro and others out, it left the only available reserves as Kevin Love, Caleb Martin, Jamal Cain, Nikola Jovic and Cole Swider.

– That had Love, at 35, also playing both nights of the set.

– And playing well on Saturday night, when the same couldn’t be said about Bryant.

– Playing off the bench was an indication of trying to keep the minutes down for Martin, who is pushing back from preseason knee pain.

– The absences meant Butler, 34, has yet to play both ends of a back-to-back this season.

– He missed the back end of the first for rest, the first night of the second for a personal reason, and, now ,this absence with ankle soreness.

– Butler did take treatment in an attempt to play, before being ruled out an hour before tip.

– Robinson shot before the game, an encouraging sign with his thumb sprain.

– Adebayo lifted pregame.

– Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Adebayo sitting out for the second time in three games was not a setback, but rather a function of a physical night Friday against the Knicks.

– “It’s just you can see in the fourth quarter that it started bothering him more,” he said pregame. “It’s the same injury. All it is is a really hard contusion to the hip.”

– Spoelstra said it was not a case of playing Adebayo in New York due to NBA preferences to have players appear in national-television games.

– “He wanted to play,” Spoelstra said of Adebayo’s decision in New York, “and there’s no way to predict it. It’s a contusion. It started out fine and then he fatigued in the fourth.”

– Martin and Love entered together as the Heat’s first two reserves.

– Cain followed as eighth man.

– Then Swider as ninth.

– With Jovic entering with 10:01 left in the second period on everyone-available-plays night.

– Jovic pushed the ball in transition while playing at the five.

– But the defense remains an issue.

– As it was, the Heat played a healthy amount of zone.

– With limited options otherwise from the available roster.

– Yes, the Heat had a film session Saturday looking back at their collapse from a 21-point lead Friday in New York.

– “We definitely looked at it this morning,” Spoelstra said. “You don’t want to just brush it under the rug, you don’t want to belabor it for three hours when you have a game to prepare for tonight. But this is one of our early hurdles that we have to conquer and get over, and we all feel confident that we will.”

– He added, “Sometimes you have to go through these experiences and sometimes they’re painful. Those can be very good lessons for your team. So we watched some of those clips from the fourth quarter and we’ll continue to work and get better at it.”

– And, so, back at it. “When you’re coming off a game like that,” Spoelstra said, “you just want to get back out there and play again.”

– Nets coach Jacque Vaughn, going in, on his undersized roster, “We’re not gaining 20 pounds over the course of the night, but you can be physical in other elements of the game that doesn’t have anything to do with strength.”

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