4️⃣ Kyle Lowry and Haywood Highsmith playing their role
The Heat have found a new gear once Haywood Highsmith was inserted into the starting lineup. The Heat have a plus-17 net rating with both Highsmith and Lowry on the floor (126.0 offensive rating). Miami's net rating is negative when it's only Highsmith without Lowry or neither. That net rating is basically null when it's only Lowry.
Playing with the Heat's big three, Lowry is doing his part in terms of playmaking while Highsmith provides perimeter defense and timely shot-making.
Lowry is the only true point guard on this team and, even when he was struggling early, the Heat just couldn't survive when he sat. In the first play, we can see how his playmaking shines. Bam is open, but Kyle knows there will be a cut from Duncan Robinson into the open space. He waits and hits Duncan perfectly for two easy points. On the second play, Marcus Smart is predicting the Bam roll and defending too deep inside, which opens up the pass for Butler. Lowry recognizes that and finds Butler.
Highsmith has become a real spacing threat for the Heat. He is shooting 50% from 3 on four attempts per game this season, looking comfortable as a shooter and finding spots for cuts and easy baskets behind the defense. In the third clip, he's starting his movement to cut inside before he notices Butler's drive and goes back to his spot. The Lakers collapse on Butler, leading to an open shot for Highsmith. On the last clip, he leaks out early and the Heat have numbers in transition with Lowry. Good pass and strong finish.
Despite not being at his best defensively, Lowry is still an important player for the Heat due to his grit and savvy alone. He continues to put his body on the line and is not afraid to take charges against anyone (fifth in the league). The second clip is another example of that, with Lowry diving for the ball and guaranteeing two easy points for the Heat instead of just letting the ball roll out.
Highsmith's insertion into the starting lineup helps with Lowry's shortcomings when defending bigger, faster guards. He's an extremely smart defender who can work on the ball and can defend a ton of space. In the third clip he comes to help with the trap with Butler in the corner, taking away any space for Davis and forces a turnover. In the last clip, Highsmith takes away Reaves' drive with a subtle defensive movement and then is able to guard a whole court by staying with the play and picks off the pass across the lane.