For the first time since November 27th, the Miami Heat‘s starting lineup was whole again. Kyle Lowry was back with the Heat after missing time for personal reasons. The Heat got off to a slow start against the San Antonio Spurs with both Lowry and Jimmy Butler frustrated early on. From there, the Heat’s offense began to heat up with great ball movement and bench production. Miami was able to create separation in the second half and never looked back. With the win, Miami moves to 33-20 for the season.
Here are my takeaways from Thursday’s win over San Antonio.
The most important thing for Miami was seeing Lowry back in action. Offensively, it was a quiet night for Lowry across the board. He didn’t score his first point until the second quarter at the free throw line. However, his impact on the team was evident. With Lowry back, it allowed Butler to focus more on his scoring opportunities. The Heat star doesn’t have to worry about being the primary playmaker as much. Butler was the recipient of many Lowry pitch-ahead passes. As a whole, Miami’s offense looked better, and the ball was moving. Overall, the mood of the whole team was better. This is what the team missed with Lowry out the past nine games. Lowry finished the night with two points and four assists in 25 minutes of action.
Bam Continues to Play with Aggression
Bam Adebayo continued to play with aggression with this game. He scored the first six points for the Heat in the paint. Adebayo used his physicality throughout the whole game. While this wasn’t a high-scoring game for him, Adebayo was most definitely looking at the basket whenever he got the ball. That may have been the most important element of Adebayo’s development. Usually, Adebayo would look for cutters and shooters before looking at the basket. The most interesting part of the game was when Miami played him and Dewayne Dedmon at the same time. They did it the previous game as well. Adebayo ended the night with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and four steals.
Herro Overcomes Slump
After struggling the past three games, Tyler Herro was back in the groove again. He was attacking his defender off the dribble and able to get to his spots with ease. There was even a bounce to his step with him throwing down a one-handed slam in the third period. Most importantly, his efficiency was back. In the previous games without Lowry and Butler, we saw Herro had to be the primary attacker. And that’s just not something he’s ready for. But when he’s the third attacker, it allows him to play his usual role with ease. Right now, that’s what is most important. That’s one of the effects Lowry has on this team. He makes it easier for players to play their own roles and not worry about doing more. Herro finished the night with 24 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
TYLER. STATEMENT. pic.twitter.com/ciUA5to5or
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 4, 2022
All-Star Jimmy Butler
During the Heat game, it was announced that Butler would be the lone Heat player at this year’s All-Star game. Despite missing 19 games, the Heat forward was still chosen as an All-Star reserve. Butler didn’t play like one early in the game as he was held scoreless in the first quarter. However, he picked it up in the second period. Butler was back to playing like himself. He got a couple of easy points in the paint from the post position. Butler is also getting to the free-throw line. He also was driving the ball off the catch. This is something we haven’t seen in a while. But with the Spurs unable to stop it, Butler went with it more. Butler finished the night with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Next Up: The Charlotte Hornets. The game tips off at 7 p.m. eastern time.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23
Main Image Credit: Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin