Observations and other notes of interest from Saturday night’s 127-109 victory over the Chicago Bulls:
— For the first time this season, and actually far longer, the Heat had all 17 players on the roster available.
— That included Caleb Martin (calf), Max Strus (shoulder) and Gabe Vincent (toe), who all had been listed as questionable earlier in the day.
— That also included Javonte Smart and Mychal Mulder, the Heat’s two-way players, who were back from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, whose G League season ended Saturday.
— No matter.
— Erik Spoelstra has shown he is inclined for nine, and that remained the case, even with additional options.
— As for the starters, it again was Bam Adebayo, P.J. Tucker, Jimmy Butler, Max Strus and Kyle Lowry.
— The four reserves of choice again were Tyler Herro, Dewayne Dedmon, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson.
— So Martin was back in uniform, but not back in the primary mix.
— In previous years, including the Goran Dragic-for-Kendrick Nunn switches, Spoelstra had waited for the playoffs to show his full hand.
— As also was the case with some of his Hassan Whiteside maneuvering.
— That doesn’t mean there can’t still be tweaks.
— But he has found something that works.
— And has worked against a high level of competition these past two.
— Could there still be tweaks?
— With Robinson leaving that door open.
— But more and more, it is becoming clear where Spoelstra’s confidence for the playoff run is being placed.
— With the Strus move providing unexpected dividends.
— Including a one-handed flush on a transition alley-oop pass from Butler in the third period.
— The reality is that Butler, Adebayo, Lowry and Herro should all be capable of bigger minutes in the playoffs, when there are no back-to-back games.
— So the thinning makes sense.
— And perhaps there is something to be said about that part of the house in order early.
— Lowry’s eighth assist moved him past Reggie Theus for 29th on the NBA all-time assist list and his ninth moved him past John Lucas for 28th.
— Butler’s first steal tied him with Dan Majerle for 16th on the Heat all-time list.
— With Adebayo called for two early fouls, Dedmon played as the Heat’s sixth man.
— Herro followed.
— The Heat opened 11 of 12 from the field before Herro’s first two shots then were blocked.
— Robinson and incent then made it nine deep.
— Butler’s 11th point moved him past Brian Grant for 18th on the Heat all-time list.
— Butler’s first offensive rebound moved him past Steve Smith for 23rd on the Heat all-time list.
— Adebayo’s 16th point moved him past Hassan Whiteside for 13th on the Heat all-time list.
— Spoelstra said pregame he was “thrilled” Hurricanes assistant Chris Caputo for getting George Washington job.
—Bulls coach Billy Donovan, on the 15th anniversary of his second Gators title, was asked pregame about his Hall of Fame chances, “If that happens, that would be an incredible honor.” Said former University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley called to remind him of title anniversary.
— Donovan, pregame, on the Heat, “they’re battled tested in a lot of ways.”
Source: Berkshire mont