The Miami Heat looked like they were going to be in real trouble when Jimmy Butler went down with an ankle injury midway through the fourth quarter of Game 1 against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. While Butler stayed in the game and made a pair of free throws, he could barely move and was unable to do much of anything for the rest of the game. It seemed like a prime opportunity for the Knicks to pull off a comeback to take a 1-0 series lead, but Kyle Lowry had other ideas.
Lowry took control of the game for the Heat, making winning plays on both ends of the court to secure a 108-101 victory. The veteran guard had 18 points off the bench, with nine of those coming in the fourth quarter. He also racked up six assists, five rebounds and four blocks in the game. Three of those blocks came in the fourth quarter.
After the win, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra praised Lowry and called him an “absolute warrior,” per CBS Sports' James Herbert. While Lowry has dealt with a number of injuries with Miami, including in last year's playoffs, Spo says he's “probably the healthiest he's been.”
Spoelstra wasn't the only person praising Kyle Lowry's performance. Butler himself offered up high praise in his on-court interview after the game, while other NBA players took to Twitter with flowers for Lowry:
Lowry so smart and experienced
— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) April 30, 2023
Kyle Lowry… winner
— kuz (@kylekuzma) April 30, 2023
Regardless of Butler's injury, the Heat need Lowry to play big in order to keep advancing in the playoffs. Of course, if Butler misses time or is slowed moving forward, Kyle Lowry will only become even more important, especially with Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo already out.