Winderman’s take: As Heat stumbles, is the Omer Yurtseven era fading?

Notes and other notes of interest from Saturday night’s 113-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls:

– It’s almost as if Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is just looking to buy time in the absence of center Cody Zeller, who is recovering from surgery on a broken nose suffered last Saturday in Orlando.

– This time, after three ineffective minutes of his initial time, sophomore Omer Yurtseven did not return in the first half, with Kevin Love instead being moved to center when Adebayo took his second break of the game.

– Then, when starting center Bam Adebayo got his first break of the second half, it was Haywood Highsmith who came on for the first time, replacing Yurtseven.

– Even with Love also out of the game at the time.

– In other words, Spoelstra was more willing to go with a front line of Highsmith, Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin than tempt fate with Yurtseven.

– With Zeller, Spoelstra has had immediate confidence since his arrival at last month’s trade deadline.

– With Yurtseven, there was nothing like it in the week of the second year ago.

– Note that Yurtseven will be a free agent in the offseason.

– So if the Heat decide not to re-sign, there is still time to clear that roster spot for Orlando Robinson.

– Which would make Robinson playoff eligible.

– The Heat opened again with Adebayo, Kevin Love, Butler, Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent.

– The Heat’s first seven shots were all 3-point attempts. Herro’s first two-pointer came with 6:40 left in the opening period.

– Max Strus and Yurtseven then entered together as the Heat’s top two reserves.

– Followed by Martin.

– And then Victor Oladipo for new depth.

– The appearance was Oladipo’s 500th career regular season game.

– Oladipo’s first steal was the 800th of his career.

– Then in the second half, Spoelstra opted for Highsmith over Yurtseven when Adebsyo came out.

– Spoelstra declined to go into detail before the game about the reasoning behind holding Lowry out Saturday instead of Sunday against the lowly Pistons.

– “Because that was part of the plan,” Spoelstra said, without giving details about the plan. “That’s what we planned during the week and we’re sticking to our plan. That’s when I considered his next working day.”

– Pressed, he only added. “That was the plan and we’re just following the plan.

– Lowry went through a full shooting cycle with assistant coach Anthony Carter before the game.

– The Heat have two more consecutive games, one in each of the last two weeks of the regular season.

– “We’ll see where we go from here,” Spoelstra said of planning with Lowry. “But that’s the plan for this week. We’re formulating the plan for next week and we’ll see where we go from there.”

– Asked if Lowry was the only Heat player in such a management program, Spoesltra said: “Right now, yes. That could change. We will see.”

– Oladipo was back in the mix after being held out of Wednesday night’s home win over the Grizzlies.

– “You have to be ready,” Spoelstra said of Oladipo. “Look, there are things that happen to players over the course of a long season. It doesn’t always go the way you plan, the way you hope.”

– So from Spoelstra, usually, just be ready. “We need contributions from everybody on the roster,” Spoelstra said. “It could be different guys at different times for different circumstances, injuries. It’s about producing right now and helping the team win.”

– Adebayo’s second offensive rebound was the 900th of his career.

– Strus’ second 3-pointer was the 400th of his career.

– Butler’s second defensive rebound gave him 2,800 for his career.

– Butler’s sixth rebound passed Keith Askins for 16th on the Heat’s all-time list.

– Butler’s seventh free throw moved him past Amar’e Stoudemire for 70th on the NBA’s all-time list.

– Herro’s fourth basket was the 1,500th of his career.

– Spoelstra talked before the game about the Heat’s offensive growth.

– “For us offensively, we’ve been trying to build the right habits throughout the season,” he said. “There were times when we moved in the right direction and then we took a step back. This is probably our longest stretch where we’ve been the most intentional about playing to our strengths and maintaining a consistent hitting profile.”

– Bulls coach Billy Donovan offered pregame praise for Butler.

– “I think the thing that doesn’t get talked about enough about him is that he’s really, really smart,” Donovan said. “I think he plays the game in a way where he takes a lot more pleasure in getting his teammates involved and getting guys going and almost using himself as a decoy to help out.”

– added Donovan: “And then obviously in the big moments, he’s not afraid to make the big shot. But you can tell when you watch him play, the only thing on his mind is, “What do I have to do, what do we have to do to win tonight?” I have a lot of respect for guys like Jimmy Butler.”


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