Five takeaways from the Heat’s demoralizing 111-109 loss to Orlando on Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, which was Miami’s fourth consecutive defeat:
• The Heat not only lost to the Eastern Conference’s worst team, but it also lost a key piece for an undetermined period of time.
Kelly Olynyk left for good in the first quarter with a strained left shoulder and said he’s unsure of the severity of the injury or when he will be able to play again.
Olnyk said he hasn’t had an X-ray or MRI but that the shoulder was in serious pain.
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"We just have to see how it reacts and evaluate it tomorrow and the next day and see what happens," he said. "Hopefully it’s nothing serious."
Asked if he has any mobility in the shoulder, he said: "They are telling me not to move it too much, to let it calm down first and kind of keep it out of pain. It's pretty painful. We'll see what happens. Come in tomorrow and see how it reacts overnight, if anything changes or feels different. Once it settles down, they can really kind of see what happens."
He said he was injured when trying to move through a Bismack Biyombo screen.
"I had my left shoulder out and moved the screen into me and kind of popped my shoulder from behind," he said. “It kind of felt like it crunched a bit.”
Olynyk said he broke the shoulder in high school but hasn’t injured it since.
Miami is already without two wing starters (Dion Waiters and Rodney McGruder) and cannot afford an extended absence from one of its best remaining three-pointer shooters.
Olynyk, who had moved into the starting lineup Saturday against Detroit, didn’t attempt a shot in six minutes before the injury.
Jordan Mickey, who hadn’t played since Jan. 3, replaced Olynyk in the lineup to start the third quarter and played five scoreless minutes.
• The roster clearly needs augmenting, but the question is whether the Heat can do something meaningful before Thursday’s trade deadline or whether Pat Riley will wait until the offseason to try to change this roster.
Unless it makes a major move involving Hassan Whiteside, the Heat’s best hope before the deadline is seeing what it could get for Justise Winslow, perhaps in a package with Tyler Johnson with the hope of dumping the last two years and $38.5 million of Johnson’s contract.
But trading two rotation players for one would be somewhat risky if Olynyk misses much time.
What’s clear is this: A team that loses home games to the worst team in the West (Sacramento) and worst team in the East (Orlando) needs help.
Miami has now lost twice to the Magic, twice to the Nets and once to Atlanta and Chicago and Sacramento – unacceptable results for a team that now must worry about simply keeping playoff seeding.
Miami, at 29-25, is seventh in the East, two games ahead of Detroit, which is 3-0 since acquiring Blake Griffin and two ahead of ninth place Philadelphia, which has three remaining games against the Heat.
No team has played more road games than Miami, which already has completed 30 of its 41 game road schedule.
But the Heat is now 13-11 at home, with 17 home games remaining. Seven of those 17 are against teams that aren’t in the top nine of their conference – Memphis, Lakers, Phoenix, New York, Chicago, Brooklyn and Atlanta.
The Heat has proven vulnerable in those types of games, losing this season at home to Brooklyn and Sacramento and now Orlando.
"We should have won that game, we should have won the game before that one," Whiteside said late Monday night. "Every game is important. But we didn’t, so it’s back to solutions and that’s what you have a coaching staff for. They figure it out. Players go out there and put the Xs and Os to the court and try to get the win."
• Despite a defense-fueled 16-2 late run to tie the score at 109, the Heat couldn’t get over the hump because of an offense that faltered down the stretch.
Over the last 2:52, the Heat went 0 for 5 with two key turnovers.
The missed shots: A Justise Winslow 14-foot jumper, a Josh Richardson driving layup, an errant Tyler Johnson three, a missed jumper from Richardson and a Biyombo block of a Tyler Johnson seven-foot jumper, with the play originally called goaltending but overturned on video replay with 1.8 seconds left.
"We got looks at it," Richardson said. "We weren’t forced into bad situations."
There was a key turnover in the final 34 seconds when Goran Dragic’s pass to Bam Adebayo was knocked away.
And with a chance to tie the score with 1.1 seconds, Winslow’s in-bounds pass was deflected by Biyombo. Winslow didn’t see Dragic, who was alone and positioned to make a layup.
Speaking about that last play, Spoelstra said:
"At that point, it was a good move on their part, they put Biyombo on the ball. Regardless of who we would have had inbounding, he would have been on the ball. And he wasable to deflect. At that point we had a couple of triggers right there. I don't think the first one was open, the second one wasn't open, and then if it was a clean pass, maybe something over the top for J-Rich."
• The Heat lost despite strong play from its centers.
Whiteside, who missed the previous game with a stomach ailment, came out active and engaged, scoring the Heat’s first nine points while hauling in four rebounds during that stretch.
He had a double-double in the first half alone, with 15 points and 11 rebounds on a 19-point, 14-rebound night.
Whiteside had more offensive rebounds in the first half (five) than the Magic had as a team (three).
But Whiteside didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter, because Adebayo was playing very well and the Heat rallied without Whiteside.
Whiteside played less than 23 minutes, compared with 26 for Adebayo.
"I played my average minutes, you know," Whiteside said. "I average, what, 22 minutes, 23 minutes so that’s pretty much how it’s been."
Asked if he could have played more in his return from illness, Whiteside said: "Uh, I can always play that many minutes. But coach went with the team that he wanted to get the win with and it’s coach’s decision. I can’t do nothing about that."
Asked if he thought he would have played more with Olynyk out, Whiteside said: "Maybe. Maybe. I mean, how long I know Spo? About four years. So I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know. It’s hard to predict. It’s hard to predict. It’s hard to gauge now a days."
Adebayo was a force, scoring seven points in a row in the first half, helping ignite that late rally with exceptional defense and closing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
"He was one of the guys that we did not see work out, but as we got closer to the draft and I watched his tape, I was just wondering to myself why he was projected to be in the 20s, quite frankly, because I was impressed with him," Magic coach Frank Vogel said before the game about Adebayo, who was selected 14th overall.
"Watching him play in the Summer League is where I got my first really good look at him. He impressed me more and more in the Summer League with his ability to catch lobs. And of course his shot-blocking. But to me, his ability to make plays off the bounce from the center position is incredible as well.”
Among 76 centers, Adebayo ranks 31st in rebounds per 48 minutes (ahead of Marc Gasol, Myles Turner, Brook Lopez and others), 49th in points per 48 (more than Marcin Gortat, Nerlens Noel and Tristan Thompson) and 30th in field goal percentage.
• The Heat can’t win when Wayne Ellington isn’t hitting threes. He was 0 for 8 beyond the arc, which is now Miami’s record (0-8) when he doesn’t hit a three.
The Heat finished 3 for 23 on threes, five days after shooting 3 for 28 on threes in a loss to Cleveland. Conversely, Orlando shot 13 for 30 on threes (43 percent).
After settling for too many threes in recent games, the Heat opened with a more aggressive bent and attempted 28 free throw attempts in the first half, more than all but four entire games this season and more than any half of any game this season. That was critical, because the Heat shot 0 for 12 on three pointers in the first half.
But that changed in the second half, with Miami shooting just seven free throws after intermission.
Meanwhile, the Heat’s defense unraveled before the late rally.
"It's hard to explain what happened in that third quarter," Spoelstra said. "The first quarter and the fourth quarter, obviously you love the way your team is competing and just laying it all out there to the end. I just don't have an explanation for that third quarter, very uninspiring.
"The defense just dropped off considerably [in the second and third quarters], the level of urgency and the level of detail and enthusiasm to defend just dropped off. You saw it big time to start the game, big time, And then in the fourth quarter, obviously guys were flying around, but, you have to play a full 48 minutes and four quarters, obviously, and we paid the price for that."
On the plan for Tuesday’s practice, Richardson said: "We can't come in and try to change everything. Just because we lost four in a row, we can’t come in like we're going change our whole offense or be too drastic. We just got to approach it like every other day and come in ready to work and fix what we’re doing wrong.”