Rookie big man Bam Adebayo is available to play against Phoenix after missing one game to attend his great-grandmother’s funeral in North Carolina. Guard Tyler Johnson will also be available after missing the past two games with a left quad contusion.
Wayne Ellington (left quad contusion) missed Monday’s contest, but he is getting closer to a return after participating in the Heat’s morning shootaround. Miami’s 3-point specialist has missed the past three games with his injury.
Without Adebayo, Johnson and Ellington on Saturday, the Heat used their 20th different starting lineup of the season against the Pistons, which is tied for the sixth-most different starting lineups used by a single team entering Monday. Miami started Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Luke Babbitt, James Johnson and Hassan Whiteside.
This five-man group was outscored 29-15 in nine minutes on Saturday. Spoelstra used the same starting lineup Monday against the Suns.
“It’s a work in progress,” Dragic said of all the changes in the Heat’s rotation this season. “We’ve had a lot of different lineups and players are out and in, so it will just take time. The main thing is we know what our system is and everybody is comfortable with each other so I think we will be OK.”
Derrick Walton Jr. is back: Derrick Walton Jr. re-joined the Heat for Monday’s game against the Suns as part of his two-way contract. But he was inactive for the contest.
Walton has appeared in 21 games with the Heat’s G League team — the Sioux Falls Skyforce — this season, averaging 16.4 points, 6.9 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 32.1 minutes.
After Monday’s game against Phoenix, Miami’s two-way contract players Derrick Jones Jr. and Walton have four and five NBA days, respectively, remaining as part of their deals.