For as encouraging as the back-to-back victories over the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings stood, the reality is it was not quite the complete Miami Heat.
In Tuesday’s win over the Warriors, the Heat’s rotation had to be reset once Tyle Herro was lost with an eye bruise after only 9:57 of court time. Wednesday’s win over the Kings came with Jimmy Butler out due to hip soreness.
But what the wins did show is that when needed to step up, when the canvas again was his to create, Kyle Lowry still is more than capable of his moments.
Tuesday, there were 13 points, nine assists and five rebounds against the defending champions. Wednesday, when even more was needed, there were a season-high 22 points, as well as seven assists and five rebounds.
“Kyle really was like this all training camp,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of these past two games of Lowry lift. “We’re trying to figure some things out and develop a continuity and a flow with that starting unit, and he’s really sacrificed, to try to help the other guys really step up and establish themselves.
“And sometimes you can get lost in the sauce, as Chris Bosh used to say. But when you need him to make plays, he’s still every bit of who he’s been through the course of his Hall of Fame career.”
Lowry said with Butler down, he knew it was time to step up Wednesday night.
“I’ve got to play more aggressive when one of our guys are out,” Lowry said, with the Heat turning their attention to Friday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
To Spoelstra, it was as if Wednesday was a statement to those who were doubting Lowry at 36.
“I don’t even know how he felt or whatever,” Spoelstra said. “But he’s bringing his best because probably he invents some challenge in his own mind of like, ‘I’m going to really bring it tonight,’ on a second night, play big minutes. And Jimmy being out, I thought he really kept us afloat and really put some pressure on the defense.”
All part of an ongoing process, Lowry said, with Herro added to the opening mix along with himself, Butler, Bam Adebayo and Caleb Martin.
“Honestly,” Lowry said, “I think we’ve got such young, really good basketball players, Tyler, Bam. And they’re going to continue to be our big guns, and Jimmy. So for me, it’s just about finding a way to be productive, but also helping those guys get better and get good looks and become All-Stars and All-NBA guys, where we’re all getting our team where we can be competing for a championship.
“So it’s kind of, yeah, you’ve got to find your balance. And sometimes it just takes time. And it takes energy and effort to try to figure it out.”
Butler did not travel with the team Thursday to Indiana, still dealing with tightness in his left hip. That will afford him at least four more days off, since the next game after Friday is Monday, when the Heat host the Portland Trail Blazers.
Also not traveling were Victor Oladipo, amid his ongoing knee issue, and forward Nikola Jovic, who suffered a nasal bruise Thursday at FTX Arena.
Still listed as out is Omer Yurtseven, due to his ankle impingement.
In addition, Adebayo is questionable with a knee bruise.
With the Heat’s G League affiliate opening its season Saturday, the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Thursday announced their roster.
It is a mix that includes players both present and away from the team.
For example, listed on the Skyforce’s opening-night roster is two-way guard Dru Smith, who remains with the Heat, as well as guard Marcus Garrett, who is sidelined due to a wrist fracture.
Featured on the Skyforce roster is Heat two-way forward Jamal Cain, as well as two undrafted prospects cut at the end of Heat camp: guard Jamaree Bouyea and center Orlando Robinson.
Also on the roster are former NBA players Mychal Mulder and Chandler Hutchinson, with former Broward College and Barry University guard Landon Kirkwood also making the roster that is coached by former Heat forward Kasib Powell.