The Miami Heat, despite much adversity, managed to reach the No. 1 spot of the Eastern Conference last week. However, following a three-game losing streak — the Heat haven’t lost three games in a row since November, have dropped to third place.
While the team’s core superstars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are back in action after being out with respective injuries, a key piece of the Heat’s starting lineup hasn’t played since January 15, point guard Kyle Lowry.
Lowry has missed nine consecutive games due to personal reasons, and few details have been revealed to explain why. Following Miami’s 110-106 loss to Lowry’s former team, the Toronto Raptors, on Monday night, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke about the six-time All-Star’s situation for the first time.
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“We understand all the things that we’re missing,” coach Erik Spoelstra said Lowry on Tuesday, per Miami Herald‘s Anthony Chiang. “But this is bigger than that. We stay connected. I communicate with him every day and everybody else, as well. He’s a part of our family now and we just want to be there for him. The basketball stuff, we can work that all out.”
Fortunately, on Wednesday evening, great news was revealed about Lowry’s return timetable. Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman tweeted, “Kyle Lowry is back with the Heat in San Antonio,” which means he will likely be suiting for the Heat’s game against the Spurs on Thursday night.
Heat Fans Are Deeply Concerned for Lowry & His Family,
The Heat are doing their best to protect Lowry’s privacy, but the longer Lowry remains away from the team, the concern for him and his family’s well-being grows exponentially.
Hopefully, Lowry’s return signals things have improved at home, and that he’ll be available to help turn things around during the Heat’s six-game road trip.
Adebayo, who scored 32 points with 11 rebounds against the Raptors, said they can use this current losing streak to grow stronger:
This builds character. This is going to build character for our team from one through 15 and the coaches. This has been the first real time we’ve had real adversity with losses, dropping three straight. We usually always find a way to win. But this is the first time we’re having real adversity and it’s going to build character.
Butler Said There Are More Important Things Than Basketball While Discussing Lowry’s Absence
Butler, who named Lowry the godfather of his daughter, and has been best friends with Lowry for years before they became teammates, spoke about Lowry’s absence on January 28.
“I think it’s always really important to realize basketball is second, third, if not around that area on people’s list of importance,” Butler said. “You always got to make sure the family is good, yourself is good. It just feels good to know that we got guys that can step in and do what Kyle does for us. But I miss him, we all miss him. We want him and his family to be okay.”
Other players missing from the Heat’s roster include Victor Oladipo, who’s yet to play in a game this season. Markieff Morris hasn’t played since taking a blindside hit from Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic on November 8, and Omer Yurtseven remains out after entering health and safety protocols on January 30.