Erik Spoelstra said that coach Kyle may be past the point of comfort for Kyle Lowry. But, yes, the Miami Heat coach said he feels particularly comfortable with the experienced point guard while sidelined by a hamstring strain.
Despite being declared before the heat took off for Thursday night’s Game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series, Lowry stayed with his teammates during the game in his hometown.
“I don’t know if he’d like to be called Coach Kyle,” Spoelstra said with a smile after his team’s morning shoot. “It’s really leadership more than anything. It’s leadership at all levels. He has an amazing way of instilling confidence in people.
“And, yes, we need it right now. So that moves the needle. It can just move it a little bit. It can move it a lot. Who knows? But it’s all hands on deck. He’s here to help, to serve.” Just to make sure people are playing with ease, confident and always paying attention to that.”
It’s these details where Lori has proven particularly helpful.
“Kyle is very, very detailed,” Spoelstra said. “And the details matter to him. And when he doesn’t see the details being executed, he’s the first to hold people accountable. And he can do that because he builds real connections with people.”
Spoelstra said the relationship with Gabe Vincent, third year old in place of Lori, has been particularly rewarding.
“It’s a great dynamic and a really unique relationship,” Spoelstra said, “because a lot of it is mentoring a guy without even knowing when Kyle is out. That this guy can handle more responsibilities.” And how selfless Kyle is.
“It also takes the right kind of mindset from Gabe to be open-minded to that consultation, and never think, even after success, ‘Oh, no, I get it.’ ,
Amid Laurie’s absence, the 36-year-old former All-Star can often be seen during timeouts with Vincent.
“They really feed on each other,” Spoelstra said. “They complement each other well. And in the games we’ve had to play without Kyle, Gabe has been able to step up. It’s invaluable to our team.”
For all talk of strategy and “chess matches” during the extended series, Spoelstra took a different approach as Game 6 approached.
“I mean, it’s part of the series,” he said. “I think that in a win, anyone who is able to control the big-muscle areas, the effort areas, the paint, the transitions, the rebounding, the many attempts, can really win for any team. has been the deciding factor.
“But both the teams are very good. So there needs to be some planned adjustments on both sides as the series goes on.”
Going into Game 6, both teams were dominating their home courts.
For Spoelstra, the hope was to learn lessons from the Games 3 and 4 blowout defeats at Wells Fargo Center.
“That’s what you always think of when you’re in this seat,” he said. “When you’re probably on their side, they’re probably thinking of something else. And that’s what the playoffs are all about. Momentum doesn’t necessarily move.
“But we have great habits. It’s not just specific to this series. It’s taken weeks and months of building different habits to figure out how to win games. And when you have to, down the road Win. And it’s a good environment.”
Simultaneously everything escalated with the team facing elimination.
“When you’re a competitor, you love this type of competition,” Spoelstra said, “where you can expect their best effort, best urgency, maybe their best play. And you still have that. There is a way to find solutions to achieve victory.”
So after the morning shoot, it was a close game.
“There’s urgency,” Spoelstra said. “You have to play well too. That’s what happens in the playoffs.”