Getting his “butt kicked” three times at home isn’t sitting well with Kyle Lowry. The Miami Heat point guard admitted something has to change with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo out. It starts by tweaking the way the team runs their offensive sets.
Lowry was brought in to push the pace and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers, mainly Butler and Adebayo. The Heat don’t have that luxury anymore, not after Adebayo underwent thumb surgery and Butler continues to deal with a tailbone injury. Following a 105-90 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Miami, head coach Erik Spoelstra promised changes. And Lowry offered a sneak peek of what they could be.
“It’s not hard. You got guys who are professionals, so I don’t think we change it to where we’re going to run the flex offense. We’re not going to that extreme. But it will be a lot more – without Bam, without Jimmy, we don’t know for how long – I’m sure it’ll be a lot more possession basketball for us. A lot more getting the ball in the right guy’s hands at the right times and just kind of slowing it down a little bit more.”
That could mean a lot more freedom for Lowry to take over games. He’s only averaging 13.0 points on 4.5 field goals per game – his lowest totals since the 2012-13 season – and the six-time All-Star has never been afraid to let it fly.
“I’m still in that flux of trying to figure out if I need to shoot more … shoot more, shoot more, or shoot more,” Lowry said. “But I’m in a situation where I just want to continue to keep making my teammates better and my team better. Listen, right now we got our butts kicked three times in a row at home. We just have to continue to stay with what we’re doing, believe in each other and figure it out.”
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Biggest Problem: Transition Defense
Lowry didn’t hesitate when asked about the biggest problem during Miami’s recent losing streak. It’s been their transition defense, especially when they crash the boards too hard and can’t get back to set up in the half court. According to Lowry, the lack of communication and missed matchups has led to a bevy of open looks for opposing teams.
“I really think our transition defense has been our problem a lot of the time and missing matchups and all that stuff,” Lowry said. “I think the communication level hasn’t been as strong as we like it to be. But transition [defense] is one thing I feel like we’ve been giving up a lot of open looks and mismatches trying to figure it out, not communicating well enough on that end.”
The communication hasn’t been crisp on the offensive end, either. Forward Caleb Martin thinks they are “missing moments” by being too careful and ignoring instinct. Guys are too focused on making the perfect play rather than the easy one.
“I think sometimes we’re trying to be too careful,” Martin said. “We’re trying to make the right play, the perfect play, every time. I think what makes us a great team is we play off instinct and we play off a great pace, so when we don’t do that and we try to make the right pass and the perfect play every single time, sometimes it can hurt us.”
Something Has to Change
Tyler Herro continues to shine as a lone bright spot throughout a frustrating season. He scored a team-high 24 points (11-of-19 from the field) off the bench in 29 minutes against Memphis, one night after starting and notching 15 points. His role is constantly evolving due to the uncertain nature of Butler’s injury.
Herro has never complained about coming off the bench. He just wants to contribute. And, at least for now, the young guard is deferring to Spoelstra’s expertise in setting lineups and rotations.
“I don’t make those decisions. Obviously that’s going to be Spo and the coaching staff,” Herro said. “I think with those guys out and without Bam, I think things change. Shots come from different areas, different guys, and we generate good looks much differently now without Bam and Jimmy. So hopefully Jimmy’s alright and we can get him and keep him in the lineup and, like I said, find some solutions to what’s going on right now.”