ASK IRA: Is the Heat’s moment of truth with Kyle Lowry about to arrive in Philadelphia?

Q: Ira, Kyle Lowry is going to blow up our playbook and make at least one timely 3-pointer against us in the play-in. Tell me again why we traded him? – Steve.

A: Because the Heat needed offense at the time of the deal, desperately needed someone to create their own shot in an offense that had been, and continues to seem, stale. Terry Rozier, when healthy, can do that (albeit now out for this play-in game). The difference with the 76ers, is that when healthy, Philadelphia has ample scorers in Tyrese Maxey, Joel Embiid, Kelly Oubre, Tobias Harris and others. So what came off as a minimal contribution from Kyle with the Heat stands as all that is needed with the 76ers. Another factor of moving on from Kyle was that he was unable to contain the ball at the point of attack. So while Kyle clearly would relish blowing up the Heat’s season, it will be interesting to see if Erik Spoelstra game plans to attack Kyle on defense. Kyle always enjoyed the chess-match element of the game. He might get to experience it at his own expense.

Related Articles

Q: Ira, what do you think about starting Delon Wright on Wednesday so he can guard Maxey? When given the chance to play his defense, he has been excellent, and this way Caleb Martin can come off the bench where he seems most effective. – Joel, Fort Lauderdale.

A: Starting? No The postseason is the time of year when you feature your best players. Now, with Terry Rozier out, it could come down to an offense-defense choice for Erik Spoelstra, whether to go with the offense of Patty Mills or the defense of Delon Wright. But if Duncan Robinson is all the way back, it is possible neither Delon nor Patty play. The postseason is not when you want to be going with use-only-in-case-of emergency talent. No, it has to be a lot of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and then some Caleb Martin, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Nikola Jovic, Robinson, Kevin Love and Haywood Highsmith, and then you go from there, as needed.

Q: Nervous about Wednesday? – Gerald.

A: No, because the 76ers are rightfully favorites for the game on their home court. One of my readers suggested the Heat hold Jimmy Butler out on Wednesday so he would be ready for a second play-in game, on Friday against the winner of Bulls-Hawks. While you obviously don’t want to let it get to such an all-or-nothing stage, the Heat’s regular-season record and success level to this point suggests that that game would be their point of entry to the postseason. So nervous on Wednesday? Doubt they will be. But Friday would be a whole other story if their postseason ticket is not punched by then.