Winderman’s take: At this point, stability has to be spelled Lowry for the Heat

Notes and other notes of interest from Wednesday night’s 104-100 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers:

– As the turnovers multiplied, up to 20 through three quarters, it became apparent that the Heat needed a stabilizing force.

– Something more than Gabe Vincent.

– Slightly less erratic than Victor Oladipo.

– All signs point to Kyle Lowry possibly returning as soon as this weekend.

– The Heat don’t just need Lowry to be good.

– They need him to be everything they looked for when he was added in the 2021 offseason.

– Because this against the Cavaliers was nothing short of a skelter helter.

– Yes, Lowry has been gone for over a month, so maybe expectations should be tempered.

– But perhaps the month off will provide a rested player capable of providing a stabilizing force.

– This seemed like a season that would not give Lowry a second chance.

– That opportunity may yet be at hand.

– Kevin Love is back after missing Monday’s game with a bruised rib and is back in the starting lineup.

– “It was a great fit,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s a short period of time, but he really rounds out that starting group. And it was a position of need for us. It was not an indictment of anything that happened in Cleveland. He had a tremendous year last year.”

– Spoelstra added: “But for us, so much of this league is a good fit. And for our starting group, he’s a great fit.”

– That’s what he did, with eight points and eight rebounds in three quarters.

– The other four starters remain Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Vincent.

– Max Strus had started in Love’s place on Monday night.

– Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff praised Love before the game for Love’s closing time in Cleveland, including stepping back to allow the team’s up-and-coming young players to thrive.

– “He gave me the opportunity to train people differently because he was willing to sacrifice so much so I could hold everyone to the same standard,” Bickerstaff said.

– Cody Zeller and Oladipo are back in as the Heat’s top two reserves.

– Zeller entered after Adebayo was called for his second foul with 4:51 left in the first period.

– Strus and Caleb Martin followed.

– Even with Love out, Martin remained a Heat backup, with Martin emerging as a staple in the fourth quarter.

– “I tell our guys all the time, we make you play,” Spoelstra said of Martin. “It affects the game so much where we can’t take you out of the game and he lives and breathes that right now.”

– With Love back in the mix, Duncan Robinson was once again taken out of the mix after a solid contribution in Monday’s win.

– Lowry, who last played on Feb. 2, went through a pregame session on the main court.

– “He’s making great progress,” Spoelstra said.

– Spoelstra was effusive in his pregame praise for the Cavaliers defense.

– “It’s legal,” he said. “They’ve earned that number one spot right now. That’s something we’ve been trying to get at. They were probably the most consistent defensive team all year.”

– Spoelstra added: “They do a tremendous job protecting the paint, eliminating easy baskets at the rim. They have length. They are well trained.”

– Love’s first offensive rebound moved him past LaSalle Thompson for 84th on the NBA’s all-time list.

– Butler’s eighth free throw attempt moved him past Bob Lanier for 92nd on the NBA’s all-time list.

– Herro’s 20th point was the 4,000th of his regular season career.


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