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Terry Rozier’s debut just another lost night for Heat as skid hits four in 105-96 failure vs. Grizzlies

MIAMI — The Miami Heat did not look Wednesday night like a team that needed a trade to find its footing in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

They looked like a team that needed three or four.

Even with Terry Rozier making his debut after being acquired Tuesday from the Charlotte Hornets for Kyle Lowry and a first-round pick, the Heat continued to have the look of a team stuck in midseason doldrums.

Against an injury-ravaged Memphis Grizzlies roster that arguably had just one NBA-level starter available, the Heat fell 105-96 at Kaseya Center to extend their losing streak to four.

“Right now,” coach Erik Spoelstra said, “it’s just one of these periods of time in an NBA season that’s funky. I can’t even explain it. There were a lot of uncharacteristic plays offensively.”

The Heat got 18 points from Tyler Herro, 15 apiece from Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin, and 15 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high six blocked shots from Bam Adebayo.

Rozier closed his Heat debut with nine points on 3-of-11 shooting, five assists and four rebounds in 29:24.

“I make no excuses,” Rozier said. “I didn’t play pretty good today, so on to the next one.”

Amid a period of ongoing offensive ineptitude, the Heat shot .402 from the field, 11 of 33 on 3-pointers, and committed 17 turnovers that led to 24 Grizzlies points.

“I feel like we’re all trying to play the right way, and that sometimes gets us in trouble, passing up shots.” Adebayo said. “We pass up shots that are open.”

Five Degrees of Heat from Wednesday night’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 22-21 after the first quarter, then trailed 49-42 at halftime, with Memphis closing the second quarter on a 15-6 run.

The Grizzlies then seized upon further Heat ineptitude to move to an 82-68 at the close of the third period.

Butler returned with 7:43 remaining and the Heat down 88-78. From there, a driving scoop layup by Rozier moved the Heat within 90-85 with 5:41 to play, and a Duncan Robinson 3-pointer with 3:58 to play trimmed the Heat deficit to 94-90.

From there, 3-pointers by Martin and Herro got the Heat within 98-96 with 2:10 to play.

But the Heat then got lost on defense, with five consecutive Grizzlies points following, effectively ending it.

“This was an ugly offensive performances two games in a row,” Spoelstra said, “and and still could have been a win,”

2. Rozier’s debut: Rozier entered with Kevin Love in the Heat’s first substitution, with 3:37 left in the first period, with his first Heat points coming on a pair of free throws with 1:35 left in the first.

Rozier’s first Heat basket was a corner 3-pointer, off a Herro assist, with 7:27 left in the second period. The shot gave Rozier 1,200 career regular-season 3-pointers.

“Tonight was kind of his ‘feel out,’ ” Adebayo said.

Rozier was largely deferential in his approach, particularly when cast alongside Herro, with the two cast side by side at the finish.

“It’s not going to happen in one day.” Rozier said.

Of Rozier’s effort, Spoelstra said, “I mean it’s tough to go through 24 hours of a battery of physicals, doctors appointments, just change of life.

“I think you see the possibilities there.”

3. Lineup No. 24: Rather than rush Rozier into the starting lineup, the Heat essentially started Josh Richardson as a placeholder at point guard.

Arguably the more significant lineup change was returning Haywood Highsmith to the starting lineup after a 10-day run of starts by 2022 first-round pick Nikola Jovic at power forward.

Further rotation adjustment likely will follow when 2023 first-round pick Jaime Jaquez Jr. returns from the groin strain that had him out for a fifth consecutive game Wednesday night.

Of all the juggling, Spoelstra said, “While it takes some time, we have to figure out how to win some games.”

There was no lineup sympathy from the Grizzlies, who opened with their 25th lineup, on Wednesday night without Steven Adams, (knee), Santi Aldama, (knee), Desmond Bane, (ankle), Brandon Clarke (Achilles), Luke Kennard (thigh), Jake LaRavia, (ankle), Ja Morant, (shoulder), Derrick Rose, (hamstring) and Marcus Smart (finger).

4. Big D: Adebayo already had tied his career high of five blocks by the early stages of the third period, particularly frustrating Grizzlies center Jaren Jackson Jr.

Adebayo was up to a double-double by the time he checked out midway through the third quarter, his 13th double-double in his last 16 games.

Adebayo helped limit Grizzlies center Jaren Jackson Jr. to 5-of-21 shooting.

“It’s a really tough cover,” Spoelstra said. “I think that’s part of Bam’s greatness, is a game that’s really uneven, nobody is in a good offensive rhythm that he still could have a stellar defensive impact.”

Adebayo downplayed the career high in blocks.

“I want the W,” he said. “I feel like I’ll get get six blocks again,”

The Heat had to alter their power rotation when Kevin Love became ill early, with Thomas Bryant given rare rotation minutes, as Jovic remained out of the mix.

5. And it gets tougher: Wednesday’s game ended a relatively soft portion of the Heat schedule.

Next up are Thursday night’s nationally televised game against the visiting Boston Celtics, Saturday’s nationally televised matinee against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, and then home games next week against the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings.

“We have the number one team in the East coming in tomorrow,” Spoelstra said, “and we have a group that’s very competitive.

“It’s just going to take some fortitude. It’s OK to have a grind in this business. Nobody’s happy or comfortable with this. A breakthrough is right around the corner.”