Heat’s Head Coach Says He Didn’t Like Kyle Lowry ‘For Many Years’

Erik Spoelstra, Kyle Lowry

Getty Miami Heat's head coach Erik Spoelstra (L) gets brutally honest about how he felt about point guard Kyle Lowry (R) before he joined the team.

The Miami Heat clinched a spot in the playoffs following their road 106-98 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, March 30, and a key part in grabbing that much-needed victory was an offensive explosion from point guard Kyle Lowry.

Lowry, 36, who’s been criticized for passing too much and not taking enough shots, scored 23 points while shooting 8-of-16 from the field and 6-of-12 on threes, along with eight assists, and just one turnover.

The fact that Lowry can just switch up his style of playing catches the opponent off guard, which is why Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra used to loath the six-time All-Star.

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“Look, we’ve been on the other side of it,” Spoelstra said of Lowry’s Hall-of-Fame level of talent.

“There’s many years that I just really did not like Kyle Lowry, because he was such a thorn in our side. Going back to ‘16, when we really thought we had a chance to go to the conference finals, and he was just brilliant. As that series got deeper, the better he played in clutch moments.”

During the final two games of the second round of the 2016 playoff series, when Lowry was a member of the Toronto Raptors, he scored 36 points and 35 points. The Raptors ultimately eliminated Miami following a competitive seven-game series.

But now that Lowry is on the Heat, Spoelstra clearly loves the guy. “Kyle,” he said following Wednesday’s win, “that’s just a great luxury to have… He just has a great mind for competition and for how to impact winning… And you can’t define it by an analytic or a number or a play call. He just knows how to make winning plays.”

Lowry Says He’s Transforming into Playoff Mode

Heading into the final few games of the regular season, Heat games where Lowry scores zero points appear to be a thing of the past. Miami Herald‘s Anthony Chiang reported, “Lowry is averaging 10 shots per game this season, down from 13 last season and his lowest since averaging 9.2 shots per game in 2012-13. He’s also averaging 6.2 three-point attempts per game, which is his lowest since the 2014-15 season.

“But those numbers are slowly starting to tick up, as he has averaged 11.2 shots and 8.7 three-point attempts in the past six games. Lowry is also making threes at a higher rate lately, too, shooting 43.8% on 6.4 three-point attempts per game since the All-Star break.”

According to Lowry, this is how he ramps up for the postseason. “I’m shooting more, shooting them and just making them,” Lowry said. “Just getting ready to prepare for the moments that I know are going to be big for us and just playing. All season I’ve been passing first. Lately, I’ve been looking for my shot a little bit more.”

The 36-year-old added, “All season, I’ve been passing first, and lately I’ve been looking for my shot a little bit more. But the job is easy when you understand what you’re doing and you’re confident in what you’re doing. For me, just playing, just trying to make winning basketball plays, that’s all that really matters.”

Jimmy Butler Said ‘We Needed Kyle Lowry’

Butler’s No. 1 goal since joining the Heat has always been to win a championship in Miami, and bringing in Kyle Lowry, the 32-year-old wing explained — he knew was the missing piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately, in order to add Lowry, the Heat had to trade away point guard Goran Dragic.

“I miss Goran like hell,” Butler said. “I like handling the ball. Tyler [Herro] likes handling the ball. But having a guy like Kyle just telling everybody where to go, knowing how to get everybody the ball, he can read when people want that ball. Yes, we needed Kyle Lowry.

“I think having like a real-life point guard that’s a pass-first guy who as of lately said, ‘Screw pass-first, I’m going to score first. It’s good.”

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