The Miami Heat‘s hot streak continued with a 121-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, January 28, and while there was a lot to celebrate, six players scored double-digit figures, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that a key member of their starting lineup remains out.
Kyle Lowry hasn’t played since January 15 due to personal reasons, and the Heat has provided zero details on a possible return date. However, Lowry’s best friend Jimmy Butler broke his silence on his teammate’s extended absence on Friday night.
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The five-time All-Star sent Lowry his best, noting that the 35-year-old point guard has more pressing matters to deal with at the moment than getting back on the court.
“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.”
Butler, who named Lowry as the godfather of his daughter, went off against the Clippers, scoring 26 points, six rebounds, and nine assists. He also scored all 16 of his free throw attempts which is a new franchise record.
Lowry Will Miss His 7th Straight Game on Saturday Night
The Heat’s back-to-back homestand concludes with a game against Lowry’s former team, the Toronto Raptors, but the six-time All-Star has already been ruled out. However, the team is managing extremely well during his absence. During his first games missed, the Heat went 5-1.
Heat center Bam Adebayo says the team’s continued success offers Lowry to take his time dealing with whatever he needs to do at home. “It definitely makes it easier on Kyle, knowing we’re winning and he has time to focus on his personal problems or personal reasonings,” Adebayo said, per Miami Herald‘s Anthony Chiang. “He can take his time.”
Gabe Vincent Has Stepped Up Amid Lowry’s Absence
Gabe Vincent, who’s subbing in as Lowry’s replacement, is also on a hot streak. Against the Clippers on Friday night, the guard recorded 23 points while shooting 8-of-15 from the field and 7-of-12 from three-point range.
“I feel like I’ve talked about it time and time again: as we get down this stretch toward the playoffs, we’re going to need everyone, the whole roster,” Vincent said, per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman. “You never know who’s going to need to be someone to step up. And during these times that we can be effective and win games while we have key players out is huge.”
While Vincent is enjoying his extended minutes, the 25-year-old undrafted guard out of U.C. Santa Barbara hopes Lowry can return as soon as possible.
“Speaking on Kyle, we can’t wait to get him back, and hopefully soon enough,”
Vincent said. Mirroring Butler and Adebayo’s comments, “Whatever the case may be, take care of what you’ve got to take care of. We’re going to hold it down until you get back, until then.”