Erik Spoelstra heads to the Heat without Kyle Lowty in the fourth quarter of the last two games

What the Miami Heat have accomplished in the fourth quarter of their last two games has been particularly remarkable, with a season-high 37 fourth-quarter points in Friday night’s win over the Orlando Magic and three nights prior surpassing they beat the Boston Celtics 23-13 in the fourth quarter of that win.

What has been missing has also been particularly notable, with point guard Kyle Lowry appearing in neither of those late periods in both home wins.

Coach Erik Spoelstra said the decisions had nothing to do with recent knee pain that had limited the 36-year-old.

“In the last game,” Spoelstra said of the win over the Celtics, “the second unit really took over, and they deserved to play that. I wouldn’t look into it any further than that. What was it, three games ago? Sometimes there is recency bias, right? He had all the big plays against New Orleans down the stretch.”

In fact, in last Sunday’s win that opened what became a 3-0 homestand, Lowry not only played closer against the Pelicans, but scored nine straight points in the final period to help close New York. Orleans.

Since then, Gabe Vincent has played 20 of the 24 minutes of the fourth quarter while Lowry has sat out, with Max Strus playing all 24 minutes of the fourth quarter.

Lowry closed out Friday night’s game with six points on 2-of-6 shooting, five assists, four rebounds and two steals in 25:08, the fewest minutes among starters.

Spoelstra said it’s a matter of looking at his entire rotation menu.

“We have a lot of guys, like I said, living through those moments,” he said, with the Heat turning their attention to Sunday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets at the start of the four-game road trip. “And that’s what I love about this group. But, also, sometimes, not everyone can be at the end.

“And I have the same respect for Kyle and his pedigree at those times throughout his career. He is one of the most important players in this game. So I wouldn’t look into it any further than that.”

victory stride

By contrast, with Friday’s game 110-105 on the line, Jimmy Butler was not only reinjected into the Heat mix, he took it upon himself to get back into the game.

He came on with 6 minutes to go, scoring seven of his game-high 29 points in the final 1:29.

“To be honest,” Spoelstra said, “Jimmy just walked over to the scorer’s table. Because he and I have an understanding. Usually around just under eight. But we let it run. So I forgot about it, for a second. And he just walked up and said, ‘Who am I going in for?’ I said, ‘Well, there’s a timeout.’ Let me find out. “

That timeout came with those 6 minutes left, the Heat up five at that point.

Butler thought his time had come.

“Just because normally around 6:45 he’s looking down like he’s saying, ‘Jimmy check in,’” Butler said of Spoelstra. “And he didn’t do that. So I decided to walk to the scorers’ table.

“And I don’t do that very often. In fact, I walked there for no reason, because there was a timeout anyway.”

paint production

With Bam Adebayo scoring 12 of his 20 points in the paint on Friday night, he has now scored double-digit points in the paint in 30 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA.

A similar streak came to an end two nights earlier, when the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James saw his 25-game streak end with eight paint points against the San Antonio Spurs.


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