ASK IRA: Was Heat’s Lowry sitting out fourth against Celtics an ominous sign?

Q: Kyle Lowry is killing us. – Josh.

A: I wouldn’t go that far. But I would say that on too many recent nights, Kyle Lowry is not necessarily helping the Heat. Yes, he still is capable of the type of closing moment he offered Sunday against the Pelicans. But those have become few and far between. The reality is that in a crucial game Tuesday night, against a prime Heat rival, in a matchup destined to go to the final play, Kyle did not play at all in the fourth quarter against the Celtics. Instead, it was Gabe Vincent going all 12 minutes in the final period. And it hardly set up as a load-management situation, with the Heat idle on Monday and then with two off days following. Plus it was a game where the Heat had to find a way to win without Jimmy Butler. Yes, Kyle’s knee has been problematic. And he has been taking ample treatment. But this is a tenuous spot for the Heat again with an aging point guard.

Q: Can’t help but wonder how the Heat would have fared the last couple of seasons had Bam Adebayo been this aggressive, rather than deferring all the time as he did then. – William.

A: Actually, the Heat were in pretty good spots those seasons, making the NBA Finals in 2020 and closing within a win of last season’s Finals. Besides, that’s all rearview mirror stuff. What matters most is that Bam Adbayo recognized more was needed and sought an upgrade both with his motor and his skillset. That is all you can ask for a young player. The concern is when such a player plateaus, and you realize that this is all there is. That hasn’t been the case with Bam. Still learning. Still growing. Still pursuing.

Q: We’re going to finish No. 4 this year. And then we will win it all. Wait and see. – Jurgis.

A: I’m not sure about fourth, but the Heat well could fight their way to No. 4. When it has been working for the Heat, it has been working well. But what is needed is an extended run of continuity, healthy continuity.