About an hour before tipoff, it was announced that Bam Adebayo would miss Wednesday night's game in Cleveland due to a left hip contusion. But even down one of their top performers, the Miami Heat were able to cruise past the Cleveland Cavaliers and earn their second consecutive wire-to-wire victory, 129-96. The Heat have now won nine out of their last ten games to improve to 10-5.
Miami received a strong performance from a bench led by Jaime Jaquez Jr., who scored a season-high 22 points. As a collective unit, the bench scored a whopping 64 points. But it was Kyle Lowry who scored a season-high 28 points and helped give Miami an early 16-2 lead in a wire-to-wire win.
With Bam Adebayo a late scratch, Kyle Lowry scored a season-high 28 points to lead the Heat to Wednesday's blowout win in Cleveland.
Coming into the night, Lowry only had two games in which he attempted 10 or more shots, attempting 11 shots at Memphis and 10 shots at Chicago last Saturday.
Lowry has rarely ever been an aggressive scoring guard looking to put up points out of the gate. But he knew he had to approach Wednesday night's game with a scoring mindset once Adebayo was ruled out.
"I knew it was an opportunity to step up and get some more shots," Lowry said after the game.
Overall, Lowry shot 9 for 15 overall and 7 for 10 from 3-point range. In the first quarter alone, Lowry scored 15 points and made his first four 3-pointers.
"We need him to be aggressive and assertive as often as he can," Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Lowry has been taking a backseat in the points department with Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Adebayo and Jaquez doing most of the scoring.
But when called upon with two key players missing (Herro remains sidelined with a sprained ankle, but an update is expected later this week), Lowry rose to the occasion and elevated his play. This isn't new for Lowry, who last season went off for a triple-double in Washington with Butler and Adebayo in the lineup.
In addition to his scoring, Lowry made sure to push the pace for easy offense. The result: Miami put up a season-high 129 points and 20 made 3-pointers.
"His pace was fantastic, never let the defense get set, was getting us into early actions," Spoelstra said of Lowry setting the tone.
Although these sort of scoring eruptions are rare for the 37-year-old Lowry at this stage of his career, it will be important that he keeps looking for his shot in certain stretches. Doing so creates space for his star teammates and puts even more pressure on opposing defenses, who would not only have to worry about his play-making, but also his ability to catch fire at any moment.