The Miami Heat are dealing with an injury bug within their squad right now, with none more prominent than Jimmy Butler’s knee problem that has kept him out of his team’s last five games, including Friday night’s matchup against the Washington Wizards.
The rest of the squad have had to step up in Butler’s stead, and for his part, veteran guard Kyle Lowry admits that he has been tasked with a much bigger role without their talisman in the mix. According to Lowry, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has demanded more from him, particularly on the offensive end:
“Without Jimmy, we’ve got to find ways to get some relief points and get to the line,” Lowry said, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Jimmy is one of the best in the league of getting to the line. My biggest thing is Coach wants me to push a little more and create some opportunities and just get in there and playing with pace and with energy and effort.”
Lowry has responded in a major way. Entering Friday’s contest against the Wizards, the six-time All-Star has averaged 20.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game, while also connecting on 3.5 triples on a highly-efficient 40.0-percent clip. It isn’t likely that Kyle is going to be able to sustain this pace the rest of the way, but it is clear that the 26-year-old can still step up to the plate when necessary.
The good news for the Heat is that Jimmy Butler is now on the mend. He’s expected to suit up on Wednesday next week when Miami takes on the defending Eastern Conference champions Boston Celtics. Lowry will get his buddy back on the court, but we shouldn’t expect him to take his foot off the gas too much.