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ASK IRA: Is there still time for Heat’s playoff mix to be shuffled?

Q: Do you think Caleb Martin is out of rotation? I know they want spacing with these different lineups, but I think Caleb offers more than Duncan Robinson overall. — Jeffrey.

A: I think that still is TBD. The givens in the nine-man rotation that Erik Spoelstra appears to prefer are Bam Adebayo, P.J. Tucker, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Max Strus, with Tyler Herro and Dewayne Dedmon the first two reserves. While the two remaining spots have been taken the last two games by Duncan Robinson and Gabe Vincent, I believe that part of the equation still could be fluid. What Caleb Martin needs is time to show that he is over his latest injury, can mesh with the direction that Spoelstra has taken the team in his absence. And I very much believe that he can be a fit. Based on Spoelstra’s postgame comments of potentially sitting regulars Sunday in Toronto, that shot, perhaps a last shot, could be at hand for Caleb.

Q: Does it matter if you are a “great” defensive team if you get outscored by the other team? Riddle for ya. — Tony, Miami.

A: This is in reference to a possible Heat first-round series against the Nets and squaring off against Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. And, yes, both will get their points, because that’s who they are. And I agree, the Heat are not winning games in such a matchup 96-93. So, yes, there will be a definitive need for breakout offense. And that’s where there is legitimate concern, when the two best bucket getters are on the opposite side. Sometimes you simply have to match an opponent point for point. With the Heat, for all the defensive prowess, that remains a question. Saturday, though, certainly was encouraging, the way the offense took off from the outset and kept going.

Q: Happy for Tim Hardaway. Definitely a situation where he had great years in Oakland with the Warriors, hurts his knee and looks like his career is possibly over, comes to Miami, gets in great shape and has some unbelievable years with the Heat. The chip is missing but he is a Hall of Famer. — Douglas.

A: And in speaking to Tim, you could tell how much it meant to him. It has been difficult in recent years being on the sidelines while his co-stars such as Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond and Alonzo Mourning already were in Springfield. For years, it was as if he felt he didn’t belong. His tears when he learned of his induction were genuine. It might have been the most meaningful, or at least rewarding, moment of his basketball career.

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Source: Berkshire mont

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