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Winderman’s view: Opening chemistry closing in on Heat? Loss raises questions

TORONTO — Observations and other notes of interest from Wednesday night’s 121-97 loss to the Toronto Raptors:

– Instead of these past two games with Jimmy Butler’s return answering questions, it only seems to have furthered the issue of Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro together.

– The start on Monday night in Brooklyn was awful.

– This one was awful-er.

– Butler passive, Herro launching and Adebayo trying to find a middle ground has merely provided deficits.

– That’s not to say that it can’t work.

– It’s just not at the moment.

– At least at the outset.

– It’s not an indictment on any of the three.

– But chemistry matters.

– And fighting back from such deficits takes a toll.

– So it might not be a matter of who plays at the outset.

– But rather of how they play.

– Perhaps this is when the Nikola Jovic experiment ends.

– Perhaps time to get back to the plan of starting Haywood Highsmith.

– Or even Caleb Martin.

– Or perhaps you don’t realize how energizing Jaime Jaquez Jr. is until he’s not there.

– Jaquez as a starter could yet endure once the groin strain heals.

– Even with Butler back.

– Then there is the matter of Kevin Love also being out.

– He, too, has been a stabilizing presence.

– But, again, it can’t be about who is missing.

– With this arguably as healthy as the Heat rotation has been this season.

– So toss this one aside?

– Or take note of an awful start Monday?

– And an awful-er one Wednesday?

– The Heat for the second consecutive game, and second time this season, opened with a lineup of Adebayo, Jovic, Butler, Herro and former Raptor Kyle Lowry.

– It was the eighth consecutive start for Jovic.

– And the 10th time this season Adebayo, Butler and Herro were available for the same game.

– The Raptors opened with a lineup of Scottie Barnes, RJ Barrett, Jontay Porter, Gary Trent Jr. and Immanuel Quickley.

– Martin played as the Heat’s first reserve, entering for Adebayo and shifting Jovic to center.

Josh Richardson and Highsmith then entered off the bench together for eight deep.

– With Duncan Robinson following.

– And then the same desperation as Monday’s first half in Brooklyn, with Thomas Bryant entering in the second period.

– That left Orlando Robinson and Cole Swider the only available players at that stage yet to see action.

– Heat coach Erik Spoelstra recognized the unique spot for the Raptors, who were in the midst of trading Pascal Siakam to the Pacers at game time.

– “If you’ve been around this league long enough, teams that make trades, they can be extremely dangerous right away, especially if they lose a big component,” he said.

– The Heat essentially prepared for one team during the morning shootaround and got a different one Wednesday night.

– “We’ve been focusing on ourselves, anyway,” Spoelstra said. “That’s why we want to focus on us,”

– Since the teams last played, the Raptors added RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley from the Knicks at the cost of OG Anunoby.

– Spoelstra said that trade appears liberating for Quickley.

– ” He has a different role here,” he said of Quickly playing as a starter. “It probably has been invigorating for him. So we’re dealing with a dangerous player who’s ignitable.”

– There was a pregame moment of silence for late Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic.