Observations and other notes of interest from Sunday’s 100-96 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans:
– Now opponents are offering no pretense.
– Just daring the Heat to shoot threes.
– All while putting a focus on double-teaming Jimmy Butler.
– Seemingly without penalty.
– It happened in Friday night’s blowout loss in Dallas.
– It happened again Sunday.
– Yes, Butler is smart enough to make the right pass.
– Often for the right shot.
– With the Heat lately then missing those shots.
– Never thought it would have been said of the team of Duncan Robinson (past tense), Max Strus and so many other slingers . . . but is there a 3-point shooter in the house?
– For now, it’s leave the Heat open until they convert.
– Which hasn’t happened nearly often enough.
– And that means having to do it the harder way.
– For the third straight game, the Heat opened with their preferred starting lineup of Bam Adevbayo, Caleb Martin, Butler, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry.
– The Heat’s longest such streak of games this season is four.
– With the start, Adebayo tied Goran Dragic for 13th on the Heat all-time list.
– The only unavailable Heat players were Duncan Robinson, Omer Yurtseven and Nikola Jovic, who all are in the midst of extended absences.
– Two-way player Jamal Cain also was inactive, in order to save NBA days on his two-way contract.
– The Pelicans opened with CJ McCollum, Dyson Daniels, Herb Jones, Trey Murphy and Jonas Valanciunas.
– Orlando Robinson and Victor Oladipo entered together as the Heat’s first reserves.
– With Gabe Vincent then following.
– And then Max Strus making it 10 deep.
– Butler’s seventh free-throw attempt moved him past Shaquille O’Neal for seventh on the Heat all-time list.
– Butler’s second steal moved him past Dan Majerle for 99th on the NBA all-time list.
– Lowry’s second steal moved him past Manu Ginobili for 62nd on the NBA all-time list.
– Adebayo’s eighth rebound moved him past Grant Long for sixth on the Heat all-time list.
– With the Pelicans practicing Saturday in Miami, Pelicans coach Willie Green felt spry enough to dunk,
– “You get in this humidity and it warms your ligaments up,” Green said. “I don’t know if I could do the same thing in Cleveland, Detroit. Every now and then, I can still get up there.”
– The rebranding of the Heat’s arena away from FTX Arena is almost complete, including the removal of the company’s logo from the court and a Heat logo banner covering the FTX logo at the entrance to the arena.