Heat Notes: Oladipo, Yurtseven, Zeller, Butler

Wednesday marked the first time this season that Heat guard Victor Oladipo was kept on the bench when he was healthy enough to play, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Oladipo has missed 33 games with a variety of injuries, but he was a DNP-CD against the Grizzlies even though Miami cruised to a 19-point win.

Chiang points out that Oladipo has been ineffective since the All-Star break, shooting just 35.6% from the field, and the Heat have been getting outscored during that time by 8.4 points per 100 possessions with him on the court. Still, coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters that he didn’t intend to bench Oladipo entirely, and his absence was a result of trying to figure out rotation minutes now that the team’s injury issues have subsided.

“How it played out tonight is not necessarily what I had on my card and the first guy I talked to was Vic, obviously,” Spoelstra said. “We have not been in this situation for three or four months, where we’ve had everybody available. I had every intention to play him in that first quarter.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Omer Yurtseven played just 2:11 in the first half Wednesday before being replaced by Haywood Highsmith, Chiang adds. There was hope that Yurtseven could take over the backup center role after returning from November ankle surgery, but he has struggled in his first three games back on the court. Spoelstra was visibly upset with Yurtseven’s defense in Wednesday’s game, Chiang observes, but the coach indicated that he’ll still get more opportunities. “O is working,” Spoelstra said. “He’s doing what he needs to do behind the scenes and drilling and working and preparing and watching film. There’s a lot of expectations in those minutes. But he’ll be prepared, he’ll be ready.”
  • Cody Zeller sat out Wednesday with a broken nose, but the team is expecting him back in “a couple of days,” Chiang tweets. When he returns, the veteran center will likely wear a mask, just as he did when he broke his nose last season with the Trail Blazers.
  • Jimmy Butler, who had been averaging 26.1 PPG since the All-Star break, continued his outstanding play with 18 first-half points Wednesday, but got a much-needed rest in the fourth quarter with the Heat leading comfortably, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Butler’s recent outburst has kept Miami in the race to avoid the play-in tournament, trailing the Nets by just two games with 11 left to play.“We need every bit of it,” Spoelstra said of Butler’s aggressiveness. “He’s not going to take his foot off the pedal.”
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