Q: Ira, that’s the extra gear. Jimmy Butler was back and the Heat had to play up to their opponent. What say the naysayers now? – Barry.
A: To do it again? What Friday night showed is that when whole, the Heat can be adept problem solvers. It was one thing to face the Celtics without Jimmy Butler, another when their closer was in place. And that is why, even during the downest of times this season, most still were hedging when pontificating on whether the Heat’s window was closed. When this team plays its game, with its primary rotation, and utilizes its complementary pieces as just that (and as no more), there still is a look of a team able to stand toe to toe with just about anyone. Yes, still a game below .500, but with the potential for more, as the victories in Atlanta and Boston have shown on this trip.
Q: This win was really needed. – Max.
A: Based on the record? Yes. But this was about more than victory. It was about heightening awareness of what the possibilities of this roster can be when whole, as well as eliminating some of the doubt that might seep in. Erik Spoelstra continually stressed over the past two weeks that he saw improvement, even when it didn’t always show in the standings. Now it is a matter of maintaining this level, which still could be a concern when considering the ages of Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry.
Q: Bye-bye zone. – Steven.
A: Not that simple. Yes, when you are closing games with the likes of Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith on the floor, you can man up. But there also will be times when Erik Spoelstra will have scoring lineups on the court not quite as capable of individually slowing higher-octane teams.