The best move the Miami Heat made at the trade deadline was not making a move. The team has reinforcements coming in the form of two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo. And the rehabbing guard recently took a big step toward his 2021-22 season debut.
Oladipo reported to the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the G League to ramp up his conditioning on Tuesday. He is expected to get some 5-on-5 full-court practice work in (via Anthony Chiang) and move forward in his recovery process from quadriceps surgery last May. It was his second operation in 28 months on the same injured right knee. Oladipo hasn’t suited up in an NBA game since April 8, 2021, when he scored 18 points against the Lakers.
Oladipo fueled rumors of an impending return when he took to Twitter on Wednesday and sent a message to Heat fans. He isn’t expected to play in any games for the Skyforce, although the Miami coaching staff will be monitoring Oladipo’s progress from afar. There is an outside shot he could return after the All-Star break, according to Ira Winderman. Meanwhile, Oladipo was all smiles in his video from “dope” South Dakota.
“Yo, yo what’s up Sioux Falls? Victor Oladipo here, always getting in work, never hardly working,” Oladpio said. “Appreciate the love, support, thanks for having me down. South Dakota is dope. Appreciate the love. Peace and love always.”
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Heat Fall to Mavericks in ‘Playoff Atmosphere’
Miami fell 107-99 to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night to snap a five-game winning streak. Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 29 points in the loss, with Bam Adebayo adding 21 points. After the game, Butler reflected on a lack of intensity on the defensive end. He thought the game had a “playoff atmosphere” to it.
“I feel like that was a bit of like a playoff style basketball game atmosphere and it’s fun,” Butler told reporters. “Those games are games you always want to play in obviously. But we know what we’re capable of, we know what we have to do, we know what we did not do tonight.
“And we just can’t make that a constant thing night in and night out, go out there and play better on the defensive end, and we’ll make shots, not worried about that. But we got to pick up the effort on the defensive end.”
Kyle Lowry Says Heat Gearing Up for Postseason
Kyle Lowry has played in a lot of meaningful postseason games, including a magical championship run with the Toronto Raptors in 2019. He knows what it takes to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy better than anyone. Despite the Heat (37-21) being tied for the best record in the Eastern Conference, Lowry doesn’t see a finished product on the court.
“I don’t think we’re nowhere near where we need to be, and we don’t want to be there yet honestly,” Lowry told reporters. “We’re only in February. We play for April, May, and June. That’s our whole thing.”
Lowry agreed with Butler’s assessment about a lackadaisical defensive effort against Dallas. He credited the Mavericks for taking advantage and promised the Heat would learn from the loss.
“You always learn from everything,” Lowry said. “You learn from every game, you learn from every opportunity you get to step on the floor. We don’t take it and say, ‘Oh man, it’s the end of the world’ but we look it and see what we can do better. That team [Dallas] has been playing extremely well for the last two months. They’re a really good team and they came to the challenge and beat us on our floor tonight.”