An inspiring night for Heat, but with limited Love – The Mercury News

Observations and other notes of interest from Friday night’s 119-115 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers:

– The Kevin Love singing made sense from a known-quantity perspective.

– Understood.

– But for every action, there is an opposing reaction.

– Friday night, the opposing reaction was the Cavaliers putting 6-foot-3 Donovan Mitchell defensively on 6-8 Love.

– That allowed the Cavaliers’ Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley to concentrate on greater defensive concerns.

– The Heat counter was to get Love in the paint at times.

– Which is not his game.

– And also clogs the paint for Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.

– With opponents surely to take note in the playoffs/play-in.

– If Love is not converting threes, he can be as much of a liability on the offensive end as the defensive end.

– The Cavaliers certainly were aware of how to handle Love.

– And might well have offered a blueprint.

– Trevor Ariza 2.0?

– Love closed 1 of 5 on 3-pointers, now 9 of 38 from beyond the arc with the Heat?

– Ultimately the Heat found a way, which is what matters most.

– The complexion of the matchup changed when the Cavaliers announced that Darius Garland would be out with a quad injury.

– Garland led the Cavaliers with 25 points in Cleveland’s Wednesday victory over Heat.

– He was replaced in Cleveland’s starting lineup by Caris LeVert.

– The Cavaliers entered 10-0 in Garland’s absence.

– With Mitchell clearly capable of picking up the slack.

– The Heat remained with their lineup of Adebayo, Love, Butler, Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent.

– Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller again entered together as the Heat’s first two substitutes.

– With Oladipo promptly making the Heat’s first 3-pointer.

– The 3-point attempt was the 2,300th of his career.

– Caleb Martin followed as the Heat’s third sub.

– With Max Strus again making it nine deep.

– A 3-point miss-a-thon ensued.

– Which has seemingly has become a nightly occurrence.

– Until Strus and Herro began to find their range.

– With his ninth point, Herro passed Shaquille O’Neal for 18th on the Heat all-time scoring list.

– With his third point, Butler passed Mario Chalmers for 13th on the Heat all-time scoring list.

– Butler’s fourth free throw was the 4,100th of his career.

– Love’s second rebound was the 9,000th of his career.

– Love’s second offensive rebound moved him past Clarence Weatherspoon for 83rd on the NBA all-time list.

– Adebayo’s second free-throw attempt moved him past Chris Bosh for sixth on the Heat all-time list.

– Strus’ first 3-pointer tied him with Kelly Olynyk for 13th on the Heat all-time list.

– Friday’s game opened a back-to-back set that concludes Saturday in Orlando.

– But coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat are beyond specific advance plans for such back-to-backs.

– “We’ll figure it out,” he said. “I feel much better the way we are physically than where we were six weeks ago.”

– Three more back-to-backs follow for the Heat before the end of the regular season, with all six of those games on the road.

– Spoelstra went in expecting a grind, as the teams played for the second time in three days.

– “I don’t anticipate that this is going to have an easy type of feel, game,” he said.

– That stood true for the Heat, after falling behind by 14 in the third.