Nikola Jovic

Eastern Notes: Atkinson, Bryant, Highsmith, Jovic, Harris

Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson is the leading candidate for the Cavaliers head coaching job but Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant has a legitimate chance, too, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic tweets.

Bryant has ties to Donovan Mitchell, Lloyd notes, since he was an assistant there before the Jazz dealt Mitchell to the Cavaliers. Owner Dan Gilbert is heavily involved in the process of selecting J.B. Bickerstaff‘s replacement., Lloyd adds.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported last week that Atkinson had emerged as the favorite to land the Cavaliers’ job.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Haywood Highsmith would like to stay with the Heat but that may not be feasible due to salary cap restrictions, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald notes. Highsmith will undoubtedly get a significant raise from his $1.9MM salary this season but if the Heat try to meet his market value, estimated in the $8-10MM annual range, they’ll be pushed up against the punitive second tax apron. Highsmith appeared in 66 regular season games and averaged career highs in points (6.1 per game), assists (1.1), steals (0.8), blocks (0.5) and minutes (20.7) while shooting career-bests from the field (46.5%) and three-point range (39.6%).
  • The Heat don’t have to worry about Nikola Jovic going anywhere. He’s still got two years left on his rookie scale contract and emerged as the starting power forward late in the season. Jovic might be the team’s most intriguing player as well as the Heat’s best bargaining chip, Chiang writes. “He’s 20. So I always do need to remind myself of that,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I hold him to an incredibly high standard because our standards are not going to change. Our expectations are always going to be championship-level expectations. Yes, I’m expecting him to rise to that.”
  • Gary Harris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel examines what the future might hold for the veteran shooting guard. Harris has been the Magic‘s top 3-point threat at times, Beede notes, but he’s also missed chunks of time with injuries and the team may look for an upgrade at that spot.

Heat Notes: Highsmith, Jovic, Bam, Mailbag, Offseason

Three-and-D wing Haywood Highsmith will be one of the Heat‘s key unrestricted free agents this summer after averaging 6.1 PPG and 3.2 RPG while shooting 39.6% from deep in 66 regular season games (20.7 MPG),

Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the 27-year-old said that – in an ideal world – he’d like to re-sign with the Heat. That outcome is far from certain though, as Miami projects to have one of the league’s highest payrolls in 2024/25.

I’d love to stay in Miami for sure,” Highsmith told Scotto. “I feel like I’ve built a great life out here. My daughter lives out here as well. If all things are close, I definitely would love to stay in Miami, but we’ll see when that time comes. I’ll still be the same person no matter how much I get paid or whatever happens. I’ll still be in the gym locked in and trying to win a championship.”

Highsmith also touched on his atypical career journey, the team’s culture, and playing for head coach Erik Spoelstra, among other subjects. As far as individual goals, Highsmith said he’d like to earn some hardware in the future.

I definitely want to be on the All-Defensive Team or a Defensive Player of the Year candidate,” he said. “I think I have the ability to do something like that.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • No player on the Miami’s roster showed more progress in ’23/24 than second-year forward Nikola Jovic, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. After appearing in just four of the team’s first 30 games, Jovic started all 32 games he appeared in down the stretch (including the playoffs), impressing his teammates and coach in the process. “He’s 20. So I always do need to remind myself of that,” Spoelstra said. “I hold him to an incredibly high standard because our standards are not going to change. Our expectations are always going to be championship-level expectations. Yes, I’m expecting him to rise to that. Is he there now? No. Am I going to stop driving him and pushing him? No. But I’ve been very encouraged by the progress that he’s made, in particular in the last 12 months.”
  • Although he finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting and made the All-Defensive First Team for the first time, Bam Adebayo only appeared on five All-NBA ballots. As Chiang writes (subscriber link), that means Adebayo won’t be eligible for a super-max extension this summer, but he could still become eligible in 2025 if he makes an All-NBA team or wins DPOY next season.
  • In a mailbag article, Chiang considers whether Purdue center Zach Edey could be a fit for the Heat with the 15th pick (probably not). He also answers questions about what the team needs to improve on this offseason and what certain players might do with their impending options.
  • Cap expert Yossi Gozlan explores the Heat’s offseason, including whether they have the financial flexibility to try and trade for a third star like Donovan Mitchell (YouTube link).

Heat Notes: Butler, Herro, Trade Assets, Bam

All-NBA Heat forward Jimmy Butler is expected to seek a two-year, maximum-salary contract extension with Miami, worth approximately $113MM, before the start of the 2024/25 season, a source tells Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

The theoretical deal would kick in for 2025/26. Butler has a $52.4MM player option for that year, which the extension would replace.

If Miami opts to not extend Butler, Chiang argues, the team could be faced with an unhappy star. The 34-year-old swingman led the Heat to two NBA Finals appearances – and an additional appearance in the Eastern Finals – during his first four seasons with the club, though he has dealt with a series of injuries, including an MCL sprain that knocked him entirely out of the playoffs this year.

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald speculates about the potential trade haul Miami could receive in exchange for its best player should the team opt not to extend Butler.

There’s more out of Miami:

  • Following a first-round playoff elimination marred by injuries, the Heat face a variety of questions about their future this offseason. The biggest, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel contends, surrounds what Miami brass wants to do with shooting guard Tyler Herro. Winderman wonders if Miami will look to trade the 2022 Sixth Man of the Year this summer, or if it will consider demoting him back to a bench role going forward. Herro is owed $93MM across the remaining three years of his deal.
  • With the Heat set to explore the trade market this summer, Jackson takes stock of the club’s movable assets, consulting with a rival scout on the value of those pieces. The scout criticized Herro’s inconsistency both as a player and as an injury risk. As far as young players still on rookie scale deals go, the scout is high on the ceilings of forwards Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic. The scout also addressed the contracts of guards Duncan Robinson and Terry Rozier, Miami being a potential trade destination for Cavaliers All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, and more.
  • One fascinating potential internal change the Heat could consider, according to one alum who still works for the franchise, is shifting All-Star center Bam Adebayo from center to power forward, writes Jackson in another piece. While on the ESPN program “First Take” this week, 20-year Miami vet Udonis Haslem explained why he thinks the 6’9″ big man could benefit from a positional move. “He can guard all five positions but he would have even more of a matchup at the 4 position where we can post him up and do different things with him,” Haslem said. “Go for a center and possibly another scoring guard.” Haslem is currently the Heat’s vice president of basketball development, and also hosts a podcast with fellow ex-Heat champion Mike Miller.

Heat Notes: Butler, Jovic, Jaquez, Wright, Adebayo

As they look to bounce back after a Game 1 loss in Boston, the Heat can’t count on Jimmy Butler to return at some point later in the first round to give them a boost. While the team hasn’t provided any sort of official timetable on Butler’s recovery from an MCL sprain, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that the star swingman is going to remain on the shelf for a while.

“It’s crazy to me that Jimmy Butler played three quarters with what I’m hearing now was a severe MCL sprain,” Charania said. “He is not going to be back in this series. This is a rehab that’s go at least one month — could be two months of rehab.

“… Thankfully for him it wasn’t the ACL, it wasn’t a meniscus. But even if the Heat were to advance (beyond) this first round, somehow, his postseason availability is still very much up in the air.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Although Miami suffered a resounding loss in Game 1 on Sunday, there were at least a couple silver linings, as Anthony Chiang writes in a pair of stories for The Miami Herald. The team’s last two first-round picks – Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez – made the first playoff starts of their respective careers and ultimately held their own despite some shaky moments in the first quarter. Additionally, buyout market addition Delon Wright came up big off the bench, scoring 17 points and making all five of his three-point attempts. Wright figures to play a regular role in the series with Terry Rozier (neck) sidelined.
  • The odds are against the Heat repeating last spring’s success and making another deep playoff run, but even in the event of a first-round exit, the team should be well positioned for the offseason, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Appearing on NBA Countdown (YouTube link), Wojnarowski said he expects a lot of action on the trade market this summer and pointed out that Miami is almost among the preferred destinations for disgruntled stars. That didn’t do the Heat much good in the Damian Lillard talks last summer, but the team should have more leverage with trade targets who have fewer years left on their contracts, Woj adds.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic takes a look at how Bam Adebayo became Udonis Haslem‘s successor as a pillar of “Heat Culture” and how the big man plans to uphold that ethos for years to come.

Heat Notes: D. Robinson, Love, Rozier, Jovic, Adebayo

Duncan Robinson has been dealing with a back issue for several weeks, but he’s been cleared for the Heat’s play-in game tonight at Philadelphia, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The team’s medical staff made the decision after watching Robinson in warm-ups, and coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed it in a pregame session with reporters.

“He’s ready to go,” Spoelstra said. “It definitely won’t be what he was doing earlier in the season, that’s for sure. But it’s pretty simple right now – the rotation is the rotation. It’s all hands on deck.”

Kevin Love will also be available after missing the second half of Sunday’s game with an arm contusion. Love, who had also been dealing with an ankle injury, explained that the decision on Sunday was just a precaution.

“Arm’s not an issue, ankle’s not an issue,” he said. “I’m ready to go. So turn the page on the regular season and now we’ve got some work to do. … We were up 21 at half, so it just made sense for me to focus on this. But I feel good and I think that extra day helped.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Terry Rozier didn’t travel with the team to Philadelphia after missing the last four games of the regular season with neck spasms, Winderman adds. Team officials aren’t certain when Rozier might be able to return. “He’s been making a lot of progress,” Spoelstra said. “He’s not ready to play in an NBA playoff-level game right now. But I’m encouraged, we’re encouraged. I feel for him. He’s such a competitor. I know how badly he wants to be out here for these kind of moments that I’m talking about. But we’ll continue to treat him and see how he feels.”
  • Nikola Jovic only logged 13 total postseason minutes during Miami’s run to the Finals last season, but he’ll have a much larger role this time around, Winderman states in a separate story. The second-year power forward has claimed a spot in the starting lineup, bringing more versatility to the Heat’s frontcourt. “This is his opportunity,” Bam Adebayo said. “He’s being aggressive. He’s figuring out how to space the floor, how to cut, really read the game. It’s one of those things, you get enough minutes, that game starts to slow down for you. And I feel like it’s slowed down for him a lot. He’s making it hard not to play him. He sets the tone every night. He makes plays. He makes the right play. He gives those extra efforts that we need.”
  • Adebayo’s selection to the U.S. Olympic team gives him the chance to become the first player to win multiple gold medals as a member of the Heat, notes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo captured gold in Tokyo in 2021.

Southeast Notes: Avdija, Jovic, Heat Struggles, Clifford

Wizards forward Deni Avdija signed a four-year, $55MM extension with the team last offseason. The fact that a new front office regime – rather than the one that drafted him – offered him that contract was a shot of confidence for Avdija, signaling the franchise’s belief in the former No. 9 overall pick, The Washington Post’s Ava Wallace writes.

Avdija, 23, has rewarded that faith with his best professional season yet, averaging career bests of 14.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while connecting on a career-high 50.9% of his shots from the field and 37.8% of his three-pointers. Avdija explained that getting that contract from the Wizards last year felt like a weight removed from his chest and allowed him to focus on basketball.

Deni’s been great,” interim coach Brian Keefe said. “Growth has been tremendous. We’ve put the ball in his hands to make plays for himself, for others. The rebounding has been great. We’re going to keep pushing Deni to do more because we think he can be — do — more.

In an otherwise poor season, Avdija has been a bright spot for the Wizards and looks like a centerpiece going forward as the club navigates a rebuild. Amid uncertainty, he led Washington in starts this season and recorded 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the home finale on Friday.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • When the Heat first inserted 20-year-old Nikola Jovic into the starting lineup this season, it was seen as more of an experiment than a long-term solution, Ira Winderman of South Florida’s Sun Sentinel writes. Flash forward to April, and Jovic has held firm on a starting spot as the Heat approach the postseason. He’s averaging 9.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 39.5% from three in his last 25 starts and has provided the team with a stretch big who can run the floor next to Bam Adebayo. “He’s improved in so many of the areas. It started with his work ethic,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I often have to remind myself that Niko is 20.” With Tyler Herro healthy, it’s possible Miami switches up its lineup in the postseason, but Jovic will likely remain a part of the rotation, starter or not.
  • Injuries and an inefficient offense continue to be a thorn in Miami’s side this season, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. The Heat entered Thursday with the fifth-most missed games in the NBA due to injury — and the most of any team with a winning record. Josh Richardson, Duncan Robinson and Terry Rozier are among the key rotation pieces currently absent for the Heat, and it doesn’t help that they’ve scored fewer than 100 points in a game 18 times this year, going 2-16 in such outings. “Ultimately, we have to figure out a way that we can try to play somewhat the same identity on the offensive end game to game,” Herro said. The Heat are left to scramble for answers whenever Jimmy Butler and/or Adebayo have an off night, according to Chiang.
  • Steve Clifford‘s tenure with the Hornets is ending, but the veteran coach isn’t taking his foot off the gas pedal even with his team long eliminated from the postseason, per The Charlotte Observer’s Roderick Boone. “We have good, young guys that can continue to grow,” Clifford said. Regardless of the lack of postseason appearances and the amount of injuries over the course of his second stint with Charlotte, Clifford is thankful for getting a second chance to coach this team. He’s set to move into a consultant position under the guidance of vice president of basketball operations Jeff Peterson after the season. “The consulting thing is tricky,” Clifford said, “… you have to pick your spots and figure out what areas you can most help in.

Heat Notes: Herro, Starting Five, Defense, Love, Bryant, More

While Thursday’s loss to the Sixers was a disappointing one, the Heat had a good day on Friday, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, as Tyler Herro returned following a 20-game absence and scored 17 points in a convincing, much-needed victory over Houston.

“It’s just great to have him back,” Erik Spoelstra said of Herro. “His head coach didn’t forget what he brings to the table. That skill level, the creativity, the speed, the quickness, all that stuff is what we need.”

Herro came off the bench for the first time this season in his return to the court, as the Heat stuck with a starting lineup of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson, and Nikola Jovic. No five-man unit has started more games (13) or played more minutes together (170) for Miami this season than that one.

However, the results for that group have been mixed, as Chiang observes, with a -4.9 overall net rating, so Spoelstra won’t necessarily feel the need to stick with it now that the team is healthier. Herro had started 103 consecutive regular season games prior to Friday — it could just be a matter of time before he returns to the starting lineup.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • The Heat had another strong night defensively on Friday, according to Chiang, who wrote earlier this week about the way the team has been performing on that end of the court during the second half. Since January 30, the Heat rank second in the NBA (and first in the East) in defensive rating and have now moved up to No. 4 for the season. “It’s been a goal all season to get to top five and stay top five,” Caleb Martin said. “So it’s good that it’s starting to come around at the right time. I think that we always understand when it really comes down to it, that’s our ticket to winning the game, whether that’s in the playoffs or getting in a position to where we don’t have to worry about the play-in.”
  • Kevin Love, who has been back in the Heat’s rotation for the past three contests after missing 16 games due to a heel injury, went out of his way this week to praise his replacement, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “You got to tip your hat to TB (Thomas Bryant). He’s been playing awesome,” Love said. Bryant has been a DNP-CD in the three games Love has played, but earned praise from Spoelstra as well for the minutes he gave the club during Love’s absence: “It takes a professional like Thomas to have an understanding of that, this is what depth is all about. And obviously we’ve used all of our depth. But the depth becomes more complex when you have more guys available. He really gave us such tremendous minutes the last six weeks when Kevin was out.”
  • Haywood Highsmith didn’t open the season as a regular rotation player for Miami, but has become a trusted contributor and played nearly 27 minutes on Friday even with Herro back and the roster relatively healthy. “He’s so inspiring right now,” Spoelstra said this week, per Winderman. “He just continues to grind, continues to work, continues to get better. And he just does all the little things for our team, to help you win. You need players like this to win in this league.” Highsmith will be an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension by June 30.
  • While the Sioux Falls Skyforce were eliminated from the G League playoffs on Friday, the Heat’s NBAGL affiliate earned a pair of end-of-season awards earlier in the day. Two-way player Alondes Williams, who was the runner-up for the G League’s MVP award, was named the NBAGL Most Improved Player (Twitter link), while Skyforce general manager Eric Amsler was the league’s Executive of the Year (Twitter link).

Heat Notes: Play-In Territory, Cain, Jovic, Rozier

The Heat are spending their second straight year trying to close out the season by clawing their way out of play-in territory. Sitting at seventh in the East at 40-33, this wasn’t where the team expected to be after becoming the first No. 8 seed to make the Finals in a non-lockout-shortened season in 2023, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes.

On their path to the NBA Finals last year, the Heat lost to the Hawks in their first play-in matchup and trailed against the Bulls in a winner-take-all game with about four minutes left. Miami would prefer to not have to endure that uphill climb again, Chiang writes, but it’s very much a possibility for a Heat team that’s a game behind the Pacers for sixth and two game back of Orlando for fifth in the conference.

The opportunity is still there for us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what we have to continue to understand. There can be disappointments during the season, there are ups and downs. You ultimately are where your record says you are. But there’s an opportunity in front of us if we can take advantage of it and that’s what we’re focused on right now.

Chiang explores the reasons why the Heat have gotten to this point, including injury woes, struggling against the league’s best teams, and more. Miami entered Thursday with the league’s fifth-highest total of games missed due to injuries (250) and has set a new franchise record with 35 different starting lineups this season. Additionally, the trio of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro have played just 21 games together this year.

We have more on the Heat:

  • While developmental prospect Orlando Robinson and two-way players Alondes Williams and Cole Swider are in the G League ahead of the playoffs, two-way wing Jamal Cain remains with the Heat, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Cain is set to finish his second straight season on a two-way deal with the Heat after seeking a standard contract in the offseason and not getting one. As Winderman notes, Miami opted to give Dru Smith a standard contract after training camp to address their point guard depth and then picked up Delon Wright and Patty Mills instead of promoting Cain when more roster spots opened up. Cain has impressed when it counts and has more appearances in the NBA than G League this season, but as part of his two-way deal, he won’t be eligible for the playoffs. He’ll be a restricted free agent again this offseason.
  • Second-year Heat forward Nikola Jovic exited Friday’s game against the Trail Blazers with a right knee contusion and did not return, as relayed by Winderman (Twitter link). After playing sparingly in his rookie season and beginning this year outside the rotation, Jovic has turned into a key rotation piece for the Heat. He has started in each of his last 17 games, averaging 8.2 points and 3.8 rebounds while connecting on 40.6% of his 4.1 three-point attempts per game. According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, Jovic’s injury isn’t considered anything serious.
  • Heat guard Terry Rozier always envisioned playing in Miami and the possibility of landing with the team appealed to him, Chiang writes in a separate story. Much of that comes down to his well-documented respect for franchise legend Dwyane Wade, who swapped jerseys with Rozier during his farewell season in 2019. Rozier further discussed that relationship with Chiang: “I just look back to when I was 6, 7 years old, I was just in the gym by myself. Me going to shoot the ball, going to the hole, I used to fall on purpose. I used to try to copy D-Wade, I used to think I was D-Wade all the time. Just fast forward to now, it’s kind of full circle where I can put on a Heat uniform and I can give the best version of myself.

Heat Notes: Lineup Combinations, Jaquez, Highsmith, Jovic

With their season disrupted by injuries, the Heat won’t be able to rely on continuity in the playoffs, but coach Erik Spoelstra thinks they might have something even better, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami has used 34 different starting lineups this season — trailing only Memphis and Portland — and Spoelstra believes it has been beneficial for so many players to receive important minutes.

“There’s always going to be a benefit,” he said. “A lot of guys get to step up and earn the opportunity to impact winning. The more players that can be engaged in a season and impact wins, that helps. Our versatility is super important for our team. So we feel like we’ve been able to weather some of the missed games.”

Chiang notes that the Heat only have one five-man group that has logged more than 100 minutes together. Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jovic and Bam Adebayo have played 115 minutes as a unit, but they’ve been outscored by 4.2 points per 100 possessions.

One positive sign is that Butler, Adebayo and Tyler Herro were very effective in their 21 games together before Herro was sidelined with a foot injury last month. Groupings featuring those three are outscoring opponents by 5.1 points per 100 possessions, and Spoelstra will have a lot of options to surround them with once Herro returns.

“Some teams will be trying to throw different lineups and they’ve never played with each other,” Caleb Martin said. “There’s no way we throw a lineup out there now that hasn’t played with each other. So that’s definitely going to come to our benefit eventually. Obviously, it’s been a struggle during the regular season. But around this time of the year, it’s going to benefit us.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Jaime Jaquez was added to the injury list on Sunday with discomfort in his left knee and ankle, Chiang states in a separate story. There’s no immediate prognosis on Jaquez, but the Heat hope to have him back before the end of the regular season, along with Herro, Robinson and Kevin Love, who also sat out the game.
  • Haywood Highsmith provided a lift by hitting his first five shots from the field and making all four of his three-point attempts, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. The outburst was welcome, as Highsmith had only reached double figures in scoring one time since February 26.
  • Jovic feels fortunate to be learning about the NBA from Spoelstra, tweets Brady Hawk of Five Reasons Sports. “He wants me to be great,” Jovic said. “And I appreciate that.”

Heat Notes: Robinson, Herro, Jovic, Highsmith, Martin, Swider

If the Heat manage to reach the playoffs, they may head into the postseason with at least one starting position unsettled, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. It’s not clear who would start at shooting guard, especially if Duncan Robinson returns from his back issues before Tyler Herro recovers from his foot injury.

Jackson notes that lineups with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Robinson have fared better than those with Butler, Adebayo and Herro, but only slightly. Both Robinson and Herro provide floor spacing, which has been missing from Miami’s offense during their absence.

“You can’t replace a guy like Duncan who shoots from anywhere, and Tyler, who creates his own shot, and the leadership of (Kevin Love),” Adebayo said.

The Heat have tried several options this season at power forward, although Jackson points out that Nikola Jovic has started the last 14 games when he’s been available. However, Haywood Highsmith has been more productive with Butler and Adebayo, and Caleb Martin has also seen significant minutes alongside the two stars. Coach Erik Spoelstra seems to be committed to using Jovic as the starter because of the overall effect he has on the offense.

“The one thing I do know is they both have great skill levels,” Spoelstra said. “And it’s almost inverted with us, when two bigs can handle. They both can pass. They both can make plays. They can both finish at the rim. And they both feel very comfortable just being facilitators.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Robinson has been ruled out for Sunday’s game with Cleveland, but his back is feeling much better, Jackson states in a separate story. Robinson got a positive report from a back specialist after being sent home early from a road trip on Monday. “Thankful it’s not too serious,” he said. “Big thing is making sure [to] calm it down. It’s flared up right now. I’m trying to play as soon as I possibly can. Itching to be back out there. As soon as I get the clear and OK, I’ll be back out there. Taking a couple days helps a lot. The recovery and treatment has helped as well as other things.”
  • Friday’s game with the Pelicans was much calmer than the teams’ February meeting, which resulted in four ejections and five suspensions, Jackson adds. Spoelstra said before the game that he didn’t expect any bad feelings from the scuffle to carry over. “It’s all behind us,” he said. “This was nothing compared to the ’90s.”
  • Making his 12th appearance of the season on Friday night, two-way small forward Cole Swider went 4-of-6 from three-point range and scored 14 points in 18 minutes. Earlier this week, he told Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel that he’s ready to help fill the need for outside shooting. “This is what a two-way is for, is for moments like this when Duncan’s out, Tyler’s out,” Swider said.