Observations and other notes of interest from Thursday night’s 108-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks:
– No sooner was Tuesday night’s game against the Thunder over than Gabe Vincent sat at his locker shaking his head.
– “Seven turnovers? I never had seven turnovers,” he said.
– But the Heat won, so Vincent moved on.
– Did he ever.
– Again filling in for sidelined Kyle Lowry, Vincent this time filled the scoring column.
– With Victor Oladipo off, it was needed.
– It also inspired greater confidence going forward.
– Which the Heat will need even when Lowry returns.
– Because at this point in Oladipo’s comeback, it can’t simply be Victor or bust.
– Never lacking for confidence, knee pain clearly had knocked Vincent down a notch.
– So he took time off to regain his footing.
– Then came several uneven performances.
– And then came Thursday night.
– This Gabe Vincent could be game-changing for the Heat.
– He was on Thursday night.
– Still without three starters, with Tyler Herro, Lowry and Caleb Martin out, the Heat rolled out their 19th starting lineup in their 43 games.
– For the second consecutive game, Max Strus started in place of Herro, Vincent in place of Lowry, and Highsmith in place of Martin.
– The game was the 150th regular-season appearance for Strus.
– Back was Bam Adebayo, who missed Tuesday’s victory over the Thunder due to a bruised right wrist.
– Jimmy Butler remained at small forward.
– With the start, Butler tied Bimbo Coles for 19th on the Heat all-time list.
– Butler’s fourth defensive rebound moved him ahead of Keith Askins for 23rd on the Heat all-time list.
– Vincent’s first shot was the 1,000th of his career.
– Highsmith’s second defensive rebound was the 100th of his career.
– In a procedural move, the Heat had to count suspended center Dewayne Dedmon in one of their 15 active-roster spots.
– By rule of his unpaid suspension, Dedmon was not allowed in the arena for the game.
– In addition, 42-year-old captain Udonis Haslem was cleared to return from the tendinosis in his right Achilles.
– Beyond the sidelined three starters, remaining out for the Heat were Duncan Robinson, Nikola Jovic and Omer Yurtseven.
– That left the Heat with 10 available players.
– One more than Tuesday night.
– When only eight played.
– While having teammates out is not optimal, it has helped Oladipo up his time in the rotation.
– “When you’ve missed as much basketball as I have, the key is to get your rhythm and just the feeling back of just playing,” Oladipo said. “So whatever opportunity I have to play, it’s beneficial for me.”
– As for playing shorthanded, Oladipo said nothing new there.
– “You got to adjust,” he said, “but the concepts and the mindset is the same, no matter who’s in there, no matter who’s wearing a uniform. We’re trying to make it tough and we’re trying to play at a high level on both ends of the floor.”
– The Heat’s two-way players were the first two off the bench, Orlando Robinson and Jamal Cain.
– With Oladipo making it eight deep.
– Leaving Haslem as the only other available player.