While it is a fool’s errand to think that one can defeat Father Time, Kyle Lowry has stubbornly fought him off and continues to produce at a solid level for the Miami Heat. His ground-based game, lower body strength, and basketball IQ have allowed him to age gracefully and remain effective in his 17th year in the NBA.
The 36-year-old Lowry has bounced back from the hamstring issue that plagued him during the 2022 NBA Playoffs earlier this year and is averaging 15 points, 2.5 threes, 4.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.7 blocks over the first quarter of this campaign. He has taken on even more responsibilities in recent weeks with Miami hit hard by the injury bug and is playing at an All-Star level.
Last week, the Heat were only able to field seven players in their 107-106 overtime loss to the Washington Wizards as the majority of their roster, including stars Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro, were sidelined.
It was a vintage Lowry performance as he galvanized their rag-tag team of reserves and unknowns. The six-time NBA All-Star did his best to keep his visiting Miami team in the game with his first triple double of the season and the 21st of his storied NBA career. He was a +4 on the evening and finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, one steal, and two blocks in a whopping 50 minutes of action.
Five days later, with Adebayo and Herro back in the line-up, he exacted revenge on the Wizards and had another strong performance. They picked up a 113-105 home win where he was a team-high +19. This time around, Lowry put on his scoring hat and tallied a season-high 28 points which was highlighted by five-of-six shooting from the three-point line.
These bursts of production, along with his consistent veteran leadership, are exactly what the Heat were hoping for when they acquired Lowry last August 2021. He has not disappointed, save for his poor showing last postseason which was more because of his aforementioned injury more than anything else.
The progress that he has made since is encouraging and the real challenge for him and Miami’s coaching staff is to manage his minutes so that they can keep him healthy for the postseason. Reserve Gabe Vincent has shown great progress over the last few years and should see his role expand even more as the Heat manage Lowry’s load.
The Eastern Conference is the toughest that it has been in recent memory this year and the Heat will need everyone playing at their best if they want to make a return trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Last season, they were just a Butler missed three-pointer away from making their second trip to the NBA Finals over the last three seasons even with Lowry at less than 100%.
Before they think about the postseason though, Miami has a lot of ground to make-up for. Their current 8-11 win-loss record has them at 11th place in the East, but if they have proven anything in recent years, it is that this team is at its best when their backs are against the wall.
Lowry has been an underdog as well throughout his career and has always thrived in difficult situations. This situation is no different and it is no surprise that the Heat are currently enjoying what could be the last renaissance of his illustrious journey.