The Miami Heat showed grit, but it was not going to be enough as their late rally came up short in Atlanta on Friday night.
Against the Hawks, the resilience that kept them in the game was not going to be enough as there was a dire need for execution, something that the team lacked as they turned over the ball on 15 occasions. This stat was probably more telling than the two shots that Jimmy Butler missed in the last few minutes of the game.
The biggest blow of the night though, was the loss of PJ Tucker after he felt knee soreness in the first quarter. “We just told him we got to think big picture,” Spoelstra said via the Sun Sentinel “The irritation is a little stiff.”
Despite that, coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed that the player wanted him to return to the game but the decision was made to have him sit that one out.
For Miami, the coming hours will be interesting as they will wait and see what happens to the 36-year-old. Spoelstra confirmed that Tucker will be evaluated in order to see if there are any complications that he might have to recover from.
The way the team is going about this matter is on purpose as Tucker already missed four games this season due to nerve irritation in his leg.
The hope is that Tucker will be available going into the future as there is a major shortage at power forward. With Markieff Morris’return still uncertain, KZ Okpala now going on 12 games out due to a wrist injury ad Victor Oladipo still recovering from his knee injury, Spoelstra only has two players to count on that offered productive performances on a consistent basis.
This was the option that the Heat decided to go with instead of looking at Dewayne Dedmon, Udonis Haslem or even Chris Silva, who recently signed his third ten-day contract of the season.
The bad news there is that he has to play them simultaneously. Bam Adebayo and Ömer Yurtseven are both on the floor for the first time. This was not done by design, but by necessity and with plenty of minutes together.
This was the first time that Yurtseven was part of the rotation for “significant minutes” since Adebayo returned from his injury. In total, the Turkish center played a grand total of 6:46 during the game. This was a far cry from the time and production that he offered in the 22 games that he filled in for the All-Star.
Bam On His Way But Is Duncan Robinson Back?
One of the positives of the game was the precision of Duncan Robinson’s shooting. That, along with Bam Adebayo’s team-leading 21 points, were part of the silver lining that the Heat can look to grow on with the Lakers coming to town on Sunday.
Robinson ended the game with 19 and stepped up on a night that saw Butler struggle and only was able to conjure up 13 points in a losing cause.
In Robinson’s case, this performance offers a cautiously positive outlook as his season so far was erratic and seen his name being mentioned as s speculated trade option.