ASK IRA: Do Heat have margin of error for games like Atlanta?

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Q: Ira, how do you come out like that in Atlanta on a three-game winning streak? – Paul.

A: Because the NBA has too many games? OK, that might sound a bit simplistic. But this is a league with its 82 games and with 20 of the 30 teams advancing beyond the regular seasons, where, unfortunately, not every game matters. So with the game mattering more to Atlanta, that’s what you get. The concern is not as much what happened in Atlanta, but now what the Heat do in New Orleans and Dallas to close out this trip. Or is their ceiling simply four games above .500, battling to avoid the play-in round?

Q: Didn’t see a need to throw Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin back in the lineup Monday. Obviously both are rusty and without rhythm. – Douglas.

A: Part of that, I believe, is the desire to get as close to whole as soon as possible, to truly test this roster’s possibilities before the Feb. 9 NBA trading deadline. Does this lineup actually work? You won’t know without a sustained run, even as you continue to wait on Kyle Lowry. Because if it doesn’t work, then you are going to have to do something. As it is, you have Victor Oladipo in such a good rhythm in reserve, I’m not sure you want to change that up at this stage.

Q: I don’t care who is in there, Dewayne Dedmon is never the answer. – Mike.

A: It appears that the Heat agree. That’s now two games that he has not played since he returned from his suspension, with no mention of an injury. This appears to be a matter of trust.