Why Kyle Lowry is expected to come off the bench in return game against Raptors tomorrow
When Kyle Lowry comes to Scotiabank Arena tomorrow to take on the Toronto Raptors, it likely won’t be as part of the starting lineup.
For each of the Miami Heat’s last six contests that he’s been in, the 37-year-old veteran point guard has been coming off the bench.
After an extended stretch from February 4 to March 10, where he was out of action with a left knee injury, Lowry has come off the bench regularly for the first time since the 2012-13 season, his first with the Raptors.
“For me, it’s just about being able to help the team no matter what it is,” Lowry said to reporters last week about his new role.
After spending nine seasons with the Raptors, Lowry joined the Miami Heat in the summer of 2021 on a three-year, $85 million deal as part of a sign-and-trade that sent Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa to Toronto.
“That’s who Low is, who he’s always been,” teammate Jimmy Butler said of Lowry’s new role. “It doesn’t matter what role you ask him to play, whether it’s starting or coming off the bench. He’s going to play to win, he’s going to play the right way, he’s going to try to get everybody the basketball, he’s going to be communicating at an extremely high level.”
Butler isn’t the only teammate pointing to Lowry’s ability to help the team off the bench.
“Just getting us in sets, slowing us down, getting us to cohesive triggers and he’s being so vocal right now,” Miami center Bam Adebayo said. “It’s vital for our team. It’s the end of the year. He had some time off, so I feel like he’s really fresh. It’s good to have a fresh Kyle Lowry out there.”
Lowry has averaged 8.8 points, 4.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds in those six games this month, averaging 24.5 minutes a night.
But while there has been praise from his teammates about his ability to adapt to a new role, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses in Miami. Following his first season with the Heat last year, Lowry made headlines for calling the season a “waste of a year.”
“You don’t know how many more opportunities you will have to get back to this,” Lowry told reporters following the Heat’s Game 7 loss last season in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Boston Celtics. “And so for me personally, honestly, it was a waste of a year. I only play to win championships. So it was fun, and I appreciate the guys, my teammates and I appreciate the opportunity but for me, it was like a waste of a year. You’re not playing for a championship. You’re not winning a championship, it was a waste of a year.”
Tipoff for the Heat-Raptors contest is set for 7:30 pm ET tomorrow.