How much Lowry’s foul trouble hurt and what Adebayo says has been Heat’s ‘biggest battle’

·5 min read

Bam Adebayo is not pleased with the Miami Heat’s performances on the road this season.

“We have to learn how to win on the road,” a frustrated Adebayo said following the Heat’s 113-101 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center on Wednesday night. “I feel like that has been our biggest battle this whole year, winning on the road. I don’t know what it is. When we’re home, we play lights out. It’s electric, we’re having fun. But when we’re on the road, it’s like we come out sluggish.”

Heat falls to 1-2 on trip. Takeaways from loss to Timberwolves and Adebayo’s frank assessment

The Heat has definitely been a better team at home — most teams are. Miami has posted a 6-1 record at FTX Arena and the NBA’s second-best home net rating (outscoring teams by 13.2 points per 100 possessions) this season.

But the Heat hasn’t necessarily been a bad team on the road even as it stands at 1-2 on its current four-game trip that ends Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls. Miami is 6-6 away from home while playing a league-high 12 road games up to this point, and holds the NBA’s eighth-best road net rating (outscoring teams by 2.4 points per 100 possessions) this season.

On Wednesday, the Heat ran into a hot Timberwolves team on the second night of a back-to-back. Minnesota won with the help of 15 offensive rebounds and Miami’s 21 turnovers to finish with 19 more shot attempts on its way to a fifth straight victory.

“That’s what they do,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They do it extremely well. I mean, they’re quick, they’re long. They do get deflections and steals and challenge at the rim. And they crash on the offensive glass. When we were able to rebound, we were able to get out in transition some. But we weren’t able to control that possession game.”

That wasn’t the only factor behind the Heat’s loss, though. Kyle Lowry’s second-half foul trouble seemed to change the game.

The Heat’s starting point guard was called for his fourth foul with 10:28 left in the third quarter. Spoelstra left him in before Lowry picked up his fifth foul just 15 seconds later and was forced to sit out the remainder of the period.

“The fourth and fifth foul happened so fast,” Spoelstra said. “In retrospect, I could’ve taken him out in the third quarter. But I thought we could manage it. It just happened on consecutive plays.”

The Heat led by nine when Lowry committed his fifth foul and went to the bench, and that’s when the Timberwolves made their run. Minnesota outscored Miami 30-17 while Lowry spent the final 10:13 of the period on the bench to enter the fourth quarter with a four-point advantage.

“I mean, it stunk,” Lowry said of picking up his fifth foul early in the second half. “I set that screen a whole lot and it is what it is. They called it and it changed the momentum a little bit.”

Lowry watched a physical and chippy third quarter from the bench that included four technical fouls. Lowry was responsible for one, as he was called for a technical for arguing with an official as he walked to the bench after picking up his fifth foul.

Heat star Jimmy Butler and Timberwolves rising star Anthony Edwards received double technicals after they had to be separated when Edwards took exception to Butler ripping the ball away on a change-of-possession dead ball. Heat forward Udonis Haslem was also called for a technical in the third quarter for complaining to an official from the bench.

“It wouldn’t have been that physical because we would have kept the lead, I believe,” Lowry said when asked how challenging it was to watch Wednesday’s chippy third quarter from the bench because of foul trouble. “But it happens. It’s always tough not being on the floor. I put myself in a position to have five fouls at the time, unfortunately.”

Lowry finally re-entered the game with 10:13 left in the fourth quarter and the Heat trailing 88-84. But Lowry fouled out with 5:29 to play and the Heat in a three-point hole.

The Timberwolves outscored the Heat 11-2 over the final 5:29 with Lowry out of the game on their way to the 12-point win.

“We still had enough,” Spoelstra said. “It was a possession game until the last four minutes. Then bang, bang, bang with the threes. We just weren’t able to overcome a lot of that stuff.”

Lowry finished with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting from the field and 1-of-4 shooting on threes, six rebounds and five assists in 23 minutes. He was limited to just 6:31 in the second half because of foul trouble.

The Heat was outscored by 20 points in the 17:29 that Lowry spent on the bench in the second half of Wednesday’s loss to the Timberwolves.

“I wish I was out there, but I believe in my teammates,” Lowry said. “They do their job and try to hold it down as much as they possibly could. They played hard tonight. Minnesota, give them credit. They played well.”

THE DUNK THAT NEVER WAS

Edwards threw down what would have likely been one of the best dunks of the NBA season over Heat guard Gabe Vincent early in the fourth quarter Wednesday.

But Vincent stepped in front of Edwards and took a charge. The dunk was completed and still went viral, but it didn’t count because Vincent drew the foul.

“Charge,” Vincent tweeted after the game along with a shrug emoji.

“If I’m refereeing that game and you dunk on someone like that, I’m not calling a charge,” Edwards said to reporters. “And you at home? I’m not calling a charge.”

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