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Winderman’s view: Reality is it doesn’t take much to beat Heat these days

MIAMI – Observations and other notes of interest from Monday night’s 118-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns:

– Monday’s Exhibit of A of The Heat Still Being Too Small?

– Drew Eubanks had 11 first-quarter points for the Suns.

– Drew.

– Eubanks.

– Which can happen when there is no semblance of a combination of size and ambulatory beyond Bam Adebayo.

– Where have you gone Cody Zeller?

– Heat Nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

– Then, at halftime, Eric Gordon stood tied with Eubanks for the Suns’ scoring lead, when Phoenix led by 13.

– As in 35-year-old Eric Gordon.

– Because a 35-year-old can do that when the opposition is lacking in athleticism.

– The Heat’s roster construct continues to fail them.

– Even with some late spirit shown in this one.

– It’s either the Heat work Erik Spoelstra’s system to perfection, absolute perfection, or it goes bust.

– As it now has for seven consecutive games.

– This time the Heat defense allowing the Suns to take open shots of their preference.

– With the Heat just a week from the Feb. 8 NBA trading deadline.

– Yes, the mix worked earlier this season.

– Oddly when the Heat were not whole.

– Now, it’s as if the league has caught on.

– And the Heat are caught short.

– And slow footed.

– The Heat for the third consecutive game opened with a lineup of Bam Adebayo, Haywood Highsmith, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Terry Rozier,

– The only player sidelined by injury for the Heat was Dru Smith, after his December season-ending knee surgery.

– Jamal Cain was a healthy Heat scratch.

– The only other unavailable Heat players were on G League assignment with the Sioux Falls Skyforce: Orlando Robinson, Cole Swider and RJ Hampton.

– Kevin Love and Duncan Robinson entered together as the Heat’s first two reserves.

– Caleb Martin followed next off the bench.

– With Jaime Jaquez Jr. making it nine deep for the Heat.

– Josh Richardson then made it 10 deep, after not being used Saturday in New York.

– Richardson entered after Robinson was lost for the night due to illness.

– Before the game, Spoelstra addressed the slide the Heat carried into the night.

– “Sometimes,” he said, “you get to these points of the season where it can be frustrating, and what you have to do is just pour into the work, pour into each other, and the process. For whatever reason, we’re just at this point where we probably have to take a painful step back to get those hopeful two steps forward. And we can’t just gloss over things that have happened. We have to learn from that.”

– Spoelstra then was asked if his team was at a fragile moment.

– “The reality is sometimes you get into some of these funks,” he said. “And even if there is some of that, that doesn’t make you a bad human being. It’s about how you respond to that. These are normal human competitive emotions. And you can get discouraged, you can get frustrated, you can get angry.”

– He added, “We’ve probably had all of those pretty consistently for the last 10 days, two weeks. And that’s OK. But it’s how we respond. Are we learning from those things? Are we rallying around each other to push to a better level?”

– Spoelstra said he still considers Rozier in the adjustment stage.

– “We’re trying to fast track that,” he said. “What he brings us, we need. And we just want him to get comfortable. He’s an aggressive player. He brings us the speed and quickness that we think can really help us.”

– To a degree, Spoelstra said it is about getting teammates up to speed with Rozier.

– “We have to get everybody used to running, at that pace, because he can get up the court very quickly,” Spoelstra said. “He also can advance pass, which we need.”

– Of Rozier getting off to an uneven staff in the Heat halfcourt offense, Spoelstra said, “He’ll settle into the halfcourt stuff and efficiency when he really fully feels it, that we want him to be aggressive and want him to be him. That’s normal. It’s coming from a great place. He doesn’t want to overstep anybody. He wants to complement. But we’ll be better when he’s aggressive.”

– Rozier’s fifth shot was the 7,000th of his career.

– Richardson’s first free-throw attempt was the 1,000th of his career.

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