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MEMPHIS, TENN. — You have to go back three seasons to find the last time Kyle Lowry had gone four consecutive games without scoring in double figures, as was the case for the Miami Heat’s prized offseason acquisition going into Saturday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum.
And yet ask his coach or teammates about their level of concern after Lowry outings of five, nine, nine and four points in his first four Heat appearances and there isn’t a level of concern at all.
“I think what you’re seeing is remarkable quarterback play by him,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s really intentional. Him coming to a new franchise, I think he’s really been intentional about getting the ball to guys and allowing them to have opportunities to score. He’s really playing pass first, pass second, pass third right now.
“And I think that’s a beautiful quality of his, to come to this situation and allow everybody else to feel comfortable. That’s a tough thing to do. Normally you’re trying to find your own comfort zone, but he’s thinking about everybody else and you could see where everybody has really benefited from that. And I do know at some point we’re going to need his scoring, and he’ll be able to provide that.”
Last season with the Toronto Raptors, Lowry never went more than two consecutive games scoring in single digits. In 2019-20, there were no such consecutive games. And in 2018-19, you have to go back to December of that season for such a four-game stretch.
“He doesn’t really care to score the ball,” said Heat forward Jimmy Butler, who was instrumental in helping pry Lowry from the Raptors in free agency. “He just wants to win. And when you’ve got a guy like that, he realizes that opportunities are going to come.
“He’s going to be able to score the ball. He can score the ball at will. But he just takes what the game gives him. It calls for different things night in and night out. He’s thriving in his role right now, and he’s a huge reason why we’re winning.”
And, no, teammates are not sweating the scoring, not with a 4-0 record with Lowry in the lineup, going into Saturday night’s game, not with a 21.5 margin of victory in those games.
“I think Kyle, he has enough experience to know if he wants to get 20, he can get 20 in any game, really,” Heat guard Tyler Herro said. “So I, like I’ve said, this group has a bunch of guys who are unselfish, and I think that started with Kyle, and it’s kind of contagious ever since the first day of training camp.
“So he’s more or less spreading the unselfishness.”
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The selflessness has not been lost on center Bam Adebayo.
“It’s great for our team,” Adebayo said. “The fact that he’s willing to pitch ahead and giving up scoring for me, Jimmy, Tyler, Duncan [Robinson] and trying to get other guys involved, as you can see, he’s making it work and he’s finding his pace where he can score.
“I feel like he’s going to start getting a rhythm where you’re going to start to see Kyle start to pick it up. It’s the beginning of the season and he’s trying to feel the team out and pick his spots.”
Adebayo said it is by design that he has been collecting himself far more often in the paint, instead of forcing immediate scoring opportunities. For that, he credited former teammate Dwayne Wade.
“Big guys, when they get a rebound or they’re in the paint, a lot of coaches tell you to go quick,” Adebayo said. “When D-Wade got here, going into my second year, and people starting blitzing, catching it in the pocket, he would always tell me, ‘Be patient. Take your time. The rim’s not going anywhere.’ And I’ll carry that for the rest of my career. And as you can see, I built off that.
“That was a great lesson for me. Shout out D-Wade.”