Kyle Lowry takes the high road while addressing recent criticism from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett'
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The Miami Heat have started the 2022-23 season slower than they would have liked, losing five of their first seven games.

After finishing last season with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and making the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat have high expectations for themselves in the 2022-23 season.

Recently, Boston Celtics legends Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett questioned Miami, including guard Kyle Lowry, on an episode of their podcast.

Pierce suggested that the Heat’s run of relevance is over and “their window’s closing.”

Lowry shrugged off the comments by the two legends, saying that he can’t focus on the opinions of others while the Heat try to chase a championship.

“They’re two legends of the game, and they have their opinions,” Lowry said. “Let them have it. Congratulations to Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for having a great podcast, I guess. They can use their platform. I’m happy for those guys to speak their opinion. (But) listen, we’re right there. We have an opportunity to still be good. This is not about sprints. And (Pierce and Garnett) know that. Like I said, they’re using their platform to voice their opinion, and I’m happy that they have their opinions. For us. I can’t focus on what other people say. I’m focused on our team and what we have to do inside our locker room.

“We’ve gotta just fight. We’ve gotta play harder. I think we’re trying to play hard, and we’re just not there all the way. And with our team, we have some offensive firepower, but when we continuously push the defense to where we need to be, our offense will struggle. But our best defense is a good shot offensively — if that makes sense.”

Lowry certainly took the high road despite receiving some criticism from the two former NBA stars, and the Heat have plenty of time to turn things around this season.

One of the keys for Miami will be getting healthy, as the team hasn’t had guard Victor Oladipo all season. Oladipo is dealing with a knee injury and his absence has forced the Heat to give bigger minutes to some other players in the rotation.

Lowry could benefit from Oladipo’s return, as the former All-Star could help take on more of the scoring load and ball-handling for Miami. Oladipo flashed some of his abilities at the end of the regular season in the 2021-22 campaign and earned a spot in the team’s playoff rotation as a result.

This season, Lowry is averaging 12.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game, but he is shooting just 35.4 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from beyond the arc. He hasn’t been the most efficient player for Miami from the floor, but there’s no doubt that he brings important leadership qualities to the roster at the point guard position.

The Eastern Conference is loaded this season with teams like the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers looking to break into the group of contenders that includes the Boston Celtics, Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Heat will get a chance to pick up a statement win on Tuesday night when they host the Golden State Warriors at FTX Arena. Golden State won the first matchup between these two teams this season, but Miami will now have a chance to defend home court against last year’s champions.

A win would go a long way for the Heat and Lowry as they look to turn things around early on in the 2022-23 campaign.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.