Miami Heat Struggle To Compete In Absence Of Kyle Lowry – South Florida Sun-Sentinel – South Florida Sun Sentinel

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MIAMI — Plan B? Apparently it’s anybody’s guess when it comes to the Miami Heat’s approach without point guard Kyle Lowry.

After a preseason when players were effusive about the unique stylings of the team’s prized offseason acquisition, the reality of how far the Heat have moved into Lowry’s orbit became evident in his absence Saturday night.

“Kyle’s been the guy, for what 16 years?” center Bam Adebayo said in the wake of Saturday’s 102-91 overtime road loss to the Indiana Pacers. “So he knows how to control the tempo, knows how to keep the pace. So when you’re missing that type of attribute, that’s going to leave a hole in our offense.

“So for us, we’ve just got to do a better job of staying cohesive, staying with pace, and just keep moving, getting in our triggers faster and making the easy plays.”

Lowry was ruled out of Saturday night’s game shortly before tipoff due to the sprained left ankle sustained in Thursday night’s season-opening 137-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at FTX Arena. The Heat closed that game with 28 assists to 11 turnovers. They closed Saturday night’s loss with 18 assist and 22 turnovers.

“It shouldn’t be that hard,” forward Jimmy Butler said of playing in the absence of Lowry, who is questionable for Monday’s game against the visiting Orlando Magic. “I guess we made it seem as that. We just got to do better of sharing the ball or getting guys to their spots.

“A lot of it is on me, honestly, whenever Kyle is not out there playing. I’m going to make no excuses.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra declined to speculate on Lowry’s availability.

“I’m not going to make a prediction now,” he said. “We’ll see how he feels . . . and go from there.”

Former two-way player Gabe Vincent started in place of Lowry but did not play the game’s final 12:16.

“I mean usually you don’t always have Plan B when somebody is out, especially somebody like Kyle, especially somebody with the starting unit,” Adebayo said. “Now you have to bring somebody in and pick up that cohesiveness, that tempo with the starting unit.”

Spoelstra started Vincent in order to maintain the cohesion with Tyler Herro in the second unit. Herro eventually took on some of the ballhandling, but while he closed with 30 points on a career-high 28 shots, he did not have an assist in his 41:10.

“Obviously without Kyle, things are much different,” Herro said. “He’s such a leader, and I’ve said it before, the way he constantly orchestrates everything for us offensively.”

Herro tried to do his part, but often found himself trapped while running pick-and-roll offense.

“He’s obviously a veteran that’s been in it for a while and is going to miss games,” Herro said of Lowry. “But we need him at the end of the year, for the most important games.

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“I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from him, so when he’s not playing, I can get in there and do the same thing he does, the game that he plays, get everyone to their spots and try to organize everything.”

With the Heat lacking a true facilitator, the Pacers were able to turn Herro into more of a one-dimensional scorer.

“Before the game,” Herro said, “we talked about it a little bit that they’re probably going to start trapping me. So I’m just going to have to watch the film and see what I did wrong, what I can do better.”

Said Spoelstra, “That’s something that’s new. And that’s a sign of respect. They don’t want him to just come off and play. He’ll probably see a lot more of that going forward.”

For now, the hope is that a return to Plan A can be imminent.

“Kyle won’t be out long,” Spoelstra said. “But if it’s games, more games, then we’ll just have to find a way to be more efficient.”