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Why isn’t Kyle Lowry taking more shots?

Lowry said that he’s “getting prepared for the real season.”

Minnesota Timberwolves v Miami Heat Photo by Joseph Guzy/NBAE via Getty Images

Since returning from a four-game absence due to personal reasons earlier this month, Kyle Lowry has attempted just three or four shots in all but one game. It was especially puzzling in Tuesday’s win over the Detroit Pistons. Jimmy Butler got hurt, Bam Adebayo was in foul trouble, and yet Lowry attempted just three field goals. (In fairness, he took six free throws, making them all.)

After practice yesterday, Adebayo said, “we will need Kyle Lowry to take more than four shots at the end of the day.” When Pat Riley announced the revamped Heat last off-season, he mentioned Lowry, Adebayo and Butler as “the anchor and face of the franchise.” But this season, Lowry has settled into more of a facilitator role. Tyler Herro has joined Butler and Adebayo as the cornerstone pieces.

Lowry said that he’s “just getting prepared for the real season.” And it’s entirely plausible that the 2019 NBA champion will take more shots in the playoffs. But the Milwaukee Bucks are just two games behind the Heat for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. To lock up that top seed and secure home-court advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs, Miami can’t toy around with losing to the Pistons (or tonight, to the Oklahoma City Thunder).

We’ve seen Lowry take over games in the clutch, like the Feb. 17 double-overtime thriller over Charlotte. Miami needs more of that Lowry not only in the playoffs, but down the stretch of the regular season.