Heat finally progresses with their lineup after Caleb Martin advances by two steps

January 4, 2023

When describing his coaching objectives for the Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra likes to use the ever-present phrase “getting to our identity.”

The Heat returned to their favored starting lineup of Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Lowry for just the 13th time this season in Monday night’s 110-100 away victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Even yet, the team wasn’t fully healthy because Martin could only play for the first few minutes of each half as he recovered from the quadriceps strain that forced him to miss the previous two games.

The Heat shifted their attention to their matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, the fourth stop on the five-game tour that will end Friday night against the Phoenix Suns; Martin said, “I’m still trying to get myself back into it.” Naturally, I didn’t feel like my whole self.

“Therefore, I’m attempting to ease myself back into it to regain my balance and rhythm.”

In the end, Martin played 14:04 against the Clippers, including the first 6:16 of the first half and the first 7:48 of the second, finishing with two points and three rebounds.

It was fine. Regarding his brief return, he added, “It was all right. It was roughly what I anticipated, but a little slower, a step behind, and a little later.

“However, it will improve game to game. I still have work to complete.


The Heat improved to 6-7 with the victory when starting with their starting lineup. Heat outscore opponents by 8.1 points per 100 possessions when those five are on the field, but that record is also deceiving.

Consider that the Heat has not started consecutive games with the same starting lineup since Dec. 10–12 to put their lineup whirl into perspective. The Heat have also changed the first five players in the last 11 games due to absences and injuries. Wednesday may mark the end of Martin’s current streak of transformation, barring any setbacks.

In addition to stating that “at this time of the season, it’s about winning wins with whoever’s out there,” Herro added of the reset with the favored starting lineup, “It was wonderful.”


Despite the Heat blowing leads of 18 and 21 points at the half on Monday, according to Spoelstra, what mattered most was keeping the will to make it eight wins in the team’s previous 11 games.

“I’ve said it before, but you can’t think that a 20-point advantage in the first half will hold up the entire game,” he said.

“Having a buffer was far better than it being, like, a six-point game and them grabbing a 15-point lead.”

Then he referred to a discussion he had with Heat President Pat Riley.

According to Spoelstra, “We’ve been working on resilience and collective toughness on the road to be able to handle a lot of different runs.” “During the game, there are these five or six skirmishes, as Pat always called them. You can’t assume that one of the skirmishes will result in your victory. It would be best if you made an effort to prevail in as many of those battles as you can. After that, we were able to come together.