Q: Ira, Erik Spoelstra has talked for weeks about his depth. But on Friday he only played eight and it was clear that Josh Richardson wore himself down and maybe even Jaime Jaquez Jr. had to force him. – Phil.
A: But depth is only depth when a team is complete. Without Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Haywood Highsmith, the depth may be forced to do more than desired. On the one hand, Kevin Love certainly took a step forward after Orlando Robinson faltered. But there was also a time when Josh Richardson asked to leave, the burden was too much on a night when Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson had problems. When you factor in Bam, Tyler and Haywood, the equation changes. As it was, Erik Spoelstra kept the eight-man rotation with the next two days off. So Friday wasn’t so much a matter of depth as it was a matter of desperation. And many of the eight simply did not contribute enough. But it’s getting to the point where you’d like to see it all the way through.
Q: I realize there was a cover in the heat basket on Friday and that Cleveland was playing good defense, but I’m concerned that Jimmy Butler got hurt again. His shot was flat and he didn’t get any momentum. – Roland, Borrego Springs, California.
A: But they also defend him more and more because of his size, and I think that was a factor as well. That’s something Jimmy Butler has overcome before and something he would hope he could overcome again. However, from the beginning on Friday it seemed like Jimmy’s tank was low on energy.
Q: During last week’s national broadcast, Heat mascot Burnie presented commentator Shaquille O’Neal with a Heat Culture t-shirt. I don’t think it was a coincidence that the host was the anonymous, faceless mascot, given Shaq’s lack of acceptance of Heat culture. Your thoughts? –Michael, Hollywood.
A: Wow. That seems a bit exaggerated. Shaquille O’Neal has been very well received by the Heat in recent years, particularly with the team’s branding through Carnival and Shaq’s endorsements. Yes, there was a bad streak. Then Shaq’s jersey was retired and completely forgotten.