ASK IRA: Have the Heat turned the clock back on closing time with these shaky finishes?

Q: I don’t understand why Jimmy Butler defers to Tyler Herro, especially in the fourth quarter. – Diamond.

A: Because as the Heat evolve, as Tyler Herro moves into this fifth season, the dynamic changes. Clearly, Tyler has been asked to take on a bigger role, and that includes during crunch time. In some ways, that could help ease the load on Jimmy Butler ahead of the playoffs. Plus, it allows you to see what and what does not work. But I think this is about more than Jimmy or Tyler. The Heat’s late-game package at the moment is a mess, somewhat surprising to see an Erik Spoelstra team so stagnant at moments of truth. There has to be more to the rim. But there isn’t.

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Q: Tyler Herro isn’t a point guard. We can’t play him out of position and then complain when he turns the ball over. – Christopher.

A: But at the end of games, it’s not as much about a point guard as about putting the ball in the hands of your best offensive player, regardless of position, and allowing him to go to work. Still, if you want to look at it from a positional perspective, Kyle Lowry also was on the floor at the close Monday night, and his lone noticeable play late was on the defensive end, drawing a charge on LeBron James. Again, as Erik Spoelstra might say, there has to be more intentionality in those situations. At times again Monday, it was almost like hot potato, seeing who on the Heat would get stuck with the ball with the shot clock expiring.

Q: Do you believe that between Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson there will be enough of a scoring punch off the bench? Do you think Martin can be a consistent enough scorer that he can be an effective sixth-man with Robinson providing the spacing with his 3-point shooting? There is also Josh Richardson who will have his moments when he will score in double figures. That would be three reliable players off the bench. – Carlos, West Park.

A: Can’t be sold until Caleb Martin makes it back. But even then, there simply is not a buckets getter coming off the Heat bench like the team had two seasons ago, when Tyler Herro was Sixth Man of the Year. That’s also what Gabe Vincent and Max Strus helped provide last season, also allowing others to bolster the reserve unit when they moved to the starting lineup. Right now, the Heat have names coming off the bench, but nothing definitive in terms of offense. Perhaps that’s where Jaime Jaquez Jr. ultimately will provide ultimate draft value.