Erik Spoelstra says postseason strategy for Kyle Lowry has ‘played out, so far, as good as we could have planned’'
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Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is extremely pleased with how the Heat’s plan for guard Kyle Lowry has played out since he returned from a knee injury.

“It’s played out, so far, as good as we could have planned,” Spoelstra said when asked about the postseason plan for Lowry. “When we were starting this process two months ago, you just don’t know how it’s going to end up. But I thought we were very disciplined except for the head coach the first game he came back.”

Lowry said that he is “very comfortable” in regards to ramping up his minutes in the postseason with the Heat set to take on the Atlanta Hawks in the league’s play-in tournament on Tuesday night.

With a win, Miami would earn the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and face the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

Spoelstra played Lowry 36 minutes in his first game back in the rotation on March 11 against the Orlando Magic, which he blamed himself for. However, it’s worth noting that the matchup did go to overtime.

“Once we got past that, we settled into a routine and we all felt good about it,” Spoelstra continued. “The communication was great. He was able to play really effectively and, the most important thing, feel really good the next day and we were able to build on that. That is a great piece of news that he’ll be able to play more minutes.”

In 10 games since the Magic appearance, Lowry is averaging 21.7 minutes per game in a bench role for Miami. Gabe Vincent has started for the Heat, which has allowed the team to manage Lowry’s minutes much better than it did early in the season.

Lowry has played well since coming back from his knee injury, shooting the ball at a much better clip than his season-long numbers. In 11 games, Lowry is averaging 7.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from beyond the arc.

For the entire 2022-23 season, Lowry is shooting just 40.4 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from 3-point range.

Even though Lowry hasn’t been his former All-Star self for the Heat this season, he’s still an experienced veteran that can help the team in the playoffs, especially if he shoots the ball as well as he has recently.

Miami missed Lowry in the playoffs last season when he sat out eight of the team’s playoff games with an injury.

It’s a good sign that both Spoelstra and Lowry seem encouraged by the veteran’s progress as the play-in tournament is set to begin.

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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.