Winderman’s view: A must win vs. Blazers? Actually, in this case, yes for Heat

PORTLAND, Ore. — Observations and other notes of interest from Tuesday night’s 106-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers:

– Granted, over an 82-game season, the term “must win” holds little NBA sway.

– Particularly when 20 of the league’s 30 teams advance to some sort of postseason play.

– Similarly, though, there also are few games on the schedule when the won-loss differential is overwhelming.

– This was one of them, with the Heat entering 32-25 and the Blazers at 15-41.

– Also remaining for the Heat are three games against the 9-49 Pistons.

– And two against the 9-49 Wizards.

– In a highly competitive league, these can’t get away.

– And should not be the type that exact a toll to a degree that they take a toll in ensuing games.

– So, no, most of the way not what the Heat needed on this night.

– Not with the Nuggets, at altitude, up next at the close of this four-game trip

– Part of it is appreciating nothing is a given in the NBA.

– But also appreciating to take what is given.

– Eventually, to their credit, the Heat did just that.

Terry Rozier, after a four-game, two-week absence, was back and back in the Heat starting lineup, opening alongside Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jovic and Duncan Robinson.

Delon Wright had started Monday at point guard.

– That made it lineup No. 31 in game No. 58 for the Heat.

– Tying the franchise record for lineups in a season.

– Still with 24 games to play.

– Butler and Jovic had been suspended from Monday’s victory in Sacramento for their actions during Friday night’s melee against the Pelicans.

– Of Rozier being cleared for Tuesday night after being held out Monday, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game, “Because he’s ready today. This was the plan.”

– Spoelstra credited Rozier and the work of the Heat training staff for having Rozier ready 16 days after his knee strain.

– “Jeff Ruiz stayed with him all during All-Star break and they did three-a-day treatments,” Spoelstra said of the Heat’s senior director of rehabilitation. “He was really determined and motivated to try to get back as quickly as possible.”

– Spoelstra added of Rozier, “Your body ultimately lets you know. And fortunately he was able to pass all the protocols.”

– Butler and Jovic spent Monday eating sushi in Sacramento and watching the broadcast of the victory, joining teammates on the team flight.

– “It’s a unique moment getting on the plane and everybody’s cheering,” Spoelstra said, with suspended players not allowed in the arena on game nights. “It was a fun night. Those are the nights that you treasure. These old coaches like myself, you put those in the memory banks, you put those in your journal. It was a cool night.”

Thomas Bryant remained suspended Tuesday, with the final game of his three-game suspension the trip finale on Thursday night in Denver.

– In order to meet roster requirements, Tyler Herro, out a second consecutive game with a hyperextended knee, was listed as an active scratch.

– It left the Heat with 11 available players, with Josh Richardson, Orlando Robinson and Dru Smith sidelined by injury, and Cole Swider and Jamal Cain in the G League.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. entered as the Heat’s first reserve.

Caleb Martin followed.

– And then Wright.

– With Kevin Love making it nine deep.

– Leaving Haywood Highsmith out of that initial mix until he checked in as 10th man with 5:53 to play in the second period.

– Martin’s first offensive rebound was the 250th of his career.

– Butler extended his streak of games with at least one steal to 11.

– Butler’s fourth steal was the 1,300th of his career.

– The Heat entered 4-4 on the second nights of back-to-back sets, with four additional sets remaining.