As a veteran point guard, Kyle Lowry was added by the Miami Heat in the offseason to put people in the right places.
Now, with seven games remaining in the regular season, he routinely finds himself attempting to put the team’s struggles into perspective.
And just like his team’s three shot-clock violations in Saturday night’s humbling 110-95 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, he finds himself running out of time.
No, two weeks remaining in the regular season is not when you want to find yourself on your first four-game losing streak.
“I think we are at the point not concerned in the sense of like panicking,” Lowry said, “but, yeah, we have to fix some stuff. Like I said, it’s a long season, but we’re getting to that point that we really have to kind of say, ‘All right, we need to figure some things out.’ “
Three times last week, the Heat took the court after a humbling loss, each time vowing to make things right.
Each time it got worse.
From last Monday’s road loss to a Philadelphia 76ers team lacking Joel Embiid and James Harden there was a Wednesday loss to a Golden State Warriors team lacking Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Then, after blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead to the visiting New York Knicks on Friday night, there was the loss to the Nets at FTX Arena that saw the Heat trail by as many as 37 points.
“Unfortunately,” Lowry said, “they jumped on us, and after that second quarter, it was kind of like that was the game.”
The previous two times the Heat had three-game losing streaks, they quickly restored order.
After a three-game losing streak in November, there was a four-game winning streak. And after a three-game losing streak that began in late January, there was a five-game winning streak.
This time there were a season-high 24 turnovers that the Nets turned into 40 points, as well as the defensive inefficiency of allowing 36 points in the paint in the first half, matching the season high by a Heat opponent.
That led Lowry to acknowledge “both” when asked which end of the court was most concerning Saturday.
“Honestly, we scored 95 points, barely,” he said. “We’re a team that we can possibly score 120. We have to find ways to get more shots on goal, less turnovers.
“And the defensive end to kind of figure out exactly where we’re going to be at all times. I think we still have some indecisive minutes with coverages and situations.”
Unlike the losses earlier in the week, there was little to build off Saturday, as the Heat try to salvage a victory from their four-game homestand when they face the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
Lowry closed with four turnovers and one assist. Jimmy Butler scored seven points in the first quarter, and then did not score again. Bam Adebayo was outplayed by Andre Drummond in the middle. Duncan Robinson went scoreless.
“It’s disappointing,” said guard Tyler Herro, an uneven 5 of 14 from the field in his return from a two-game absence due to knee soreness. “At this point of the year, we want to be playing our best basketball at this point. But, you know, there’s ups and downs to everything. You embrace the lows just as much as you embrace the highs. This is what is going to make us at the end of the day. And just continue to fight and continue to work it out.
“The perspective on our goals hasn’t changed at all, to continue to get better every single days. And, obviously, like I said, it’s been disappointing, but we’ll continue to work things out, and we’ll figure it [out] before the playoffs.”
Those playoffs begin in three weeks, the Heat exiting Saturday’s loss a half-game ahead of the No. 4 seed in the East, having held a three-game lead atop the conference a week earlier.
“Well, it certainly hasn’t been our best week,” said assistant coach Chris Quinn, who guided the team on Saturday night, with Erik Spoelstra away due to a medical procedure for one of his two young sons. “Obviously, we’re no excuses around here, trying to figure out what’s working and what’s not working, and we’ll just have to get back to it.”
That won’t be easy, with Monday night’s game followed by a challenging three-game trip to Boston, Chicago and Toronto.
“We have a very prideful group,” Quinn said. “But obviously everyone is super competitive, and they know the deal. So these guys, I’m confident, will respond and be ready to go.”
All as the clock ticks toward the April 10 close of the regular season.
“We’ll figure it out,” Herro said.