Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin make Heat feel closer to the whole; Kyle Lowry upgraded to questionable

As the parent of a newborn, you may not have wanted to sneak out for this three-game journey. But Tyler Herro had something in common with those recent Southwest Airlines commercials.

Such is life in a home with a 16-month-old daughter and a week-old son.

“It’s a lot more yelling,” said the 22-year-old Miami Heat guard. “There are many more people in the house. There’s a lot going on, man. There’s a lot going on.”

There’s a lot going on for the Miami Heat, too, namely trying to get the team’s preferred starting lineup in time for an extended reading of where this could all be headed before the NBA’s Feb. 9 trade deadline.

After going without three starters in the previous three games, Herro and Caleb Martin returned for Monday’s road loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Although the result was not as desired, the approach to continuity was appreciated, since point guard Kyle Lowry was the only absent starter.

Lowry was later promoted to questionable Tuesday for Wednesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

“It’s only going to get better,” forward Jimmy Butler said, and the Heat turned their attention to the second stop of the road trip that concludes Friday against the Dallas Mavericks. “We want those guys to get into a rhythm. We want them to be healthy. And they are comfortable. We need those guys out there.

They are getting the wind back. We need them to get an idea of ​​the game. We will be fine.

Herro had missed the previous three games with Achilles tendon pain after a misstep in the final seconds of the Heat’s Jan. 8 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Martin had missed five in a row with a strained left quadriceps. Lowry has missed the last four with a sore left knee.

“It is a long season. There are ups and downs,” said center Bam Adebayo. “For us, it’s just getting the guys healthy and happy to have T and Caleb back so now we can sort of get back to a normal rhythm.”

Only, as became clear on Monday, normalcy and pace take time.

“It was good to come back,” said Martin, who is listed as probable for Wednesday. “I felt better than in the last two weeks.”

But then he offered a lazy nod.

“But that’s how you feel when you come back,” he said. “So I’m glad to be back with the guys, start to get some rhythm back and get some chemistry back with the guys.”

For Herro, a good night’s sleep in Atlanta was apparently enough to rejuvenate him.

“It felt amazing to be out there and get to hang out with my teammates again,” he said. “Any time I can come back after missing out on a few different things for a while, it feels good. Obviously, we wanted to win. But it felt good to get back out there.”

For coach Erik Spoelstra, simply getting 31 minutes Monday from Herro and 26 from Martin were steps in the right direction.

He said Martin’s energy was instrumental in cutting a 26-point Hawks lead into something more manageable.

“The most important thing is that they are back and they can play those minutes,” he said. “Caleb’s energy in the second half was fabulous, exceptional.

“I didn’t anticipate playing him that many minutes, but we had to. But it was basically 12 straight minutes in the third quarter. But the momentum was changing and really, I think he was the one that spearheaded the turnaround in our whole defensive deal. He was so active. It was great to see him back out there like that.”

As for Herro, after a 4-of-11 first half from the field, there was a more measured 3-of-5 second half, the Heat outscoring the Hawks by 15 when he was on the floor the final two periods.

“Tyler was trying to get into a rhythm in the first half. He finally got a better rhythm in the second half,” said Spoelstra, with Herro off the team’s injury report. “And these are things to be expected. And eventually we’ll get Kyle back.”

For all the time lost, Martin said it’s been a measured approach by the training staff.

“It’s difficult with a group of guys like ours. Everybody wants to play; everyone is competitive,” Martin said. “A lot of guys are going to play injured if they can and a lot of guys don’t talk about a lot of injuries. So our staff, our medical staff, do a great job of trying to keep the guys healthy and smart.

“I think overall we have a great connection with the medical staff and they are not going to let me put myself in a bad light.”

Out of the Heat are Jamal Cain (G League), Nikola Jovic (back), Duncan Robinson (finger) and Omer Yurtseven (ankle), with Udonis Haslem (Achilles) listed as probable.


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