ASK IRA: Is defensive destiny the Heat’s ultimate path to redemption?

Q: The Heat scored 35 points off Cavaliers turnovers. 24 in transition. This is the type of Heat win Erik Spoelstra likes. The Heat had their defensive chops. – Stuart.

A: Of course, defensive chops are easier to come by when the opposition is lacking Donovan Mitchell, and, to a lesser degree, Max Strus. That said, there was solid work again against Darius Garland. And that’s the formula, not necessarily the transition points, but the defensive work. With Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Duncan Robinson out, Haywood Highsmith got his chance and maximized the opportunity. Now the question is how Erik Spoelstra finds time for Haywood when whole. Or if he does. But if the path to victory is defense, then Haywood is a player who best helps chart that course.

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Q: Do whatever is required to get the Cavs in Round 1. – Ray.

A: Would have been nice, but with all the games the Heat allowed to get away, it would be a challenge. To get the Cavaliers in the first round it would take No. 6 or No. 5. At the moment, that remains an uphill fight.

Q: How did we get here again? Seriously, play-in again? Hopefully we can get this sixth spot. If Jimmy Butler isn’t on his A-game, we’re cooked. Our second-best player, Bam Adebayo, can turn back into passive Bam on any given game. Our ceiling (Seed Nos. 6-8) is where it’s at not because of injury, nope, it’s because Bam can’t average 23-25 like Pat Riley asked. Then he’s going to ask for a supermax? – Swann.

A: To put it on Bam Adebayo because of offense is way too simplistic, considering all he does on defense, essentially the backbone of the team on that end. And the injuries do matter, and matter a lot, because if you are playing the Heat and the Heat are lacking Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Kevin Love, you pack the paint like it’s never been packed before. Now, if you are asking if Bam Adebayo is a supermax player? No, but neither are several who hold such deals. Basically, in the NBA, if you meet the qualifying standards in terms of awards, you get the max. As it is, it is unlikely Bam gets All-NBA or Defensive Player of the Year. So therefore no supermax eligibility.