Heat Notes: Lowry, Spoelstra, Cain, O. Robinson

The Heat never planned to have Kyle Lowry rank second in the league in minutes played, but early-season injuries have forced them into that situation, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Through 18 games, Lowry has logged 656 minutes, just four behind league leader Kevin Durant. The veteran guard had to play at least 44 minutes twice on the team’s recent four-game road trip, including a 51-minute outing last Friday at Washington.

“I can’t say enough about Kyle Lowry and that’s why he has that reputation that he does as a winner,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s dealing with his stuff, too, and he’s just, ‘I’m available, coach. Whatever you need from me. If you need me to play 48, I’ll play 48.’ And he’s basically been doing that every single game on this road trip. It’s not something I like to do sitting in this head coaching chair. That’s where we are right now.”

With Max Strus sidelined tonight, Lowry is the only Heat player to have appeared in every game. He has been able to stay healthy after dealing with a strained hamstring last postseason and is answering critics who’ve raised questions about his conditioning.

“For me, it’s about playing basketball and doing my job at the highest level I can possibly do it at,” Lowry said. “At the end of the day, I don’t know how long I’ll be able to play basketball the rest of my life. I want to play, I still enjoy it and I have fun doing it.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat have been short-handed for much of the season, and Spoelstra is hoping some of his players will be able to return soon even if they’re not 100 percent, Chiang adds in a separate story. “Maybe they can give us a little bit of reinforcement even if it’s just short minutes,” Spoelstra said. “That’s where we are right now. Just give us whatever you have, whatever you have just give us. If you’re used to playing 30 minutes, give us 15. If you’re used to playing 20 minutes, give us eight. So we can kind of manage things right now.”
  • Jamal Cain, who earned a two-way contract after going undrafted, saw late-game minutes Monday instead of first-round pick Nikola Jovic, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. “He has a great, positive spirit every single day,” Spoelstra said of Cain. “It doesn’t change whether he’s having a good day, a bad day, an in-between day. You have no idea. He always has the same approach, a great enthusiasm for the work. And that’s why he’s going to continue to get better.”
  • Orlando Robinson found there wasn’t much demand for an “old school” big man in the draft, but he’s getting a chance to prove himself after signing a two-way deal earlier this month, Winderman states in another piece.
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