Winderman’s view: The curious case of Kyle Lowry in reserve

MIAMI — Observations and other notes of interest from Friday night’s 109-108 loss to the Atlanta Hawks:

– Well this certainly was curious.

– And somewhat buried on the night the Heat retired Udonis Haslem’s No. 40.

– But for the first time this season when available, Kyle Lowry was not in the starting lineup.

– After starting in all 35 of his previous appearances.

– Instead, Erik Spoelstra opened with a lineup of Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jovic, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin.

– Last season, when Lowry played off the bench, it was after an extended injury absence.

– And when the Heat had a replacement point guard in Gabe Vincent.

– Still, do not read too much into it.

– It is the type of move that also can come after something as benign as a player being late for a shootaround.

Related Articles

– With Erik Spoelstra declining to comment beyond offering a strategic reason for the lineup move.

– So Sunday’s starting lineup in Orlando could be more telling.

– Then again, Lowry played some of his best ball last season in reserve.

– Including during the Heat’s playoff run to the NBA Finals.

– Of course, this latest switch came with Jaime Jaquez Jr. missing his third consecutive game with a groin strain.

– So it’s not as if Spoelstra has his full rotation to manipulate.

– Something Spoelstra mentioned postgame.

– Asked about what the team missed without the rookie, Spoelstra said, “Certainly some of in-between plays that he can make something out of nothing, the energy plays in transition,”

– Martin helped provide some of that.

Kevin Love was back from the knee contusion that had him out the previous two games.

– Again playing as the backup center to Adebayo, instead of Jovic.

– Adebayo was introduced pregame as, “The Eastern Conference Player of the Week.”

– He was named recipient Monday, for the second time in his career.

– Love played as the Heat’s first reserve.

– Lowry then followed with 3:49 left in the opening period, along with Josh Richardson.

Duncan Robinson, who had been questionable with an ankle sprain sustained at the morning shootaround, followed to make it nine deep.

– With Haywood Highsmith entering at the start of the second period for 10 deep.

– Once Adebayo went to the bench, the Hawks immediately went into attack mode against the Heat’s lack of rim deterrence.

– Spoelstra said he was not overly concerned by a pair of poor shooting nights on the just-completed two-game trip.

– “Outside shooting, that’ll have its ebbs and flows,” he said. “But for the most part, we are a fantastic shooting team. But we have to be able to weather storms.”

– Spoelstra downplayed the Hawks being without Trae Young, who remained behind due to illness.

– “They still have a great deal of offensive firepower.”

– Spoelstra added, “It doesn’t make it easier. You still have to do a lot of tough things.”

– Spoelstra cited Dejounte Murray as an example.

– “That’s a role he knows very well,” Spoelstra said.

– The Hawks started Bogdan Bogdanovic in place of Young, as they had done the previous two times Young sat this season.

– Spoelstra had no issue with the longer halftime for Udonis Haslem’s jersey retirement.

– “I want everybody to be present and celebrate this,” he said of his players being courtside at halftime.

– He added, “This is good for us, to be able to go through this, to have the mental toughness and get after it and finish it off in the second half.”

– Herro’s second 3-point attempt was the 1,750th of his career.