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Winderman’s view: Heat still sorting out a somewhat sordid bench


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.

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– 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.

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– 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.

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