Observations and other notes of interest from Wednesday night’s 112-109 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers:
– At the end of the third period, the ledger stood with Russell Westbrook with 17 points off the Lakers’ bench, the entire Heat bench with 12.
– And, no, it’s not a case of the Heat bench lacking because Duncan Robinson is now out following finger surgery.
– It’s because consistency has been lacking.
– This time there were numbers from Victor Oladipo.
– But not much elsewhere in support.
– That, at times, has Oladipo attempting to force the issue.
– Such as 3-pointers launched early in the shot clock.
– The up and down continues with Max Strus.
– Who arguably is needed more now with Robinson out.
– Gabe Vincent has yet to regain his footing after missing time with his knee issue.
– And Haywood Highsmith this time was dealt out.
– Against the Lakers, such can be survived.
– But with the starting lineup finally back pieced together, the next piece is a consistent bench unit.
– Perhaps getting Dewayne Dedmon back is a start.
– But more still is needed.
– For the first time since Dec. 10-12, the Heat opened with the same lineup as the previous game, with their preferred first five of Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro.
– The Heat entered 6-7 with that starting lineup.
– The start was Martin’s 50th in his regular-season career.
– With his start, Lowry tied Chris Mullin for 95th on the NBA all-time list.
– The game was Adebayo’s 51st in a row scoring in double figures, four games from matching the longest such streak of his career, set in 2020-21.
– Butler’s ninth point moved him past Shaquille O’Neal for 17th on the Heat all-time scoring list.
– Lowry’s first 3-pointer extended his streak with at least one to 33 games, one shy of his career high, set in 2015-16 with the Raptors.
– Herro’s first 3-pointer was the 500th of his regular-season career.
– The Lakers, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis sidelined, opened with the eclectic starting lineup of Dennis Schröder, Patrick Beverley, Austin Reaves and Juan Toscano-Anderson.
– That kept Russell Westbrook in the Lakers’ preferred reserve role.
– Westbrook entered with 6:54 to play in the first period, as the game’s initial sub.
– Martin took that initial assignment.
– Oladipo played as the Heat’s first reserve.
– Oladipo’s first made shot was the 3,000th of his career.
– Dedmon again was active.
– But Orlando Robinson played as the Heat first reserve big man.
– That did not go well.
– Strus then entered as the Heat’s third reserve.
– With Vincent making it nine deep for the Heat.
– Dedmon then playing as10th man.
– Heat forward Jamal Cain was inactive, saving the count of NBA days on his two-way contract.
– Former Heat guard Kendrick Nunn played as the fourth reserve for the Lakers.
– He reached 2,000 career points in the third quarter.
– The game was one of 17 on a Wednesday for the Heat this season, their busiest day of the schedule.
– The Heat went in seeking to sweep the two-game series from both Los Angeles teams since 2013-14, when they swept the Lakers and Clippers. The only other time the Heat did it was in 1992-93.