Herro Out For Game 5; Smart, R. Williams Active

Heat guard Tyler Herro (left groin strain) will miss Wednesday’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said Herro was itching to return to action after missing Game 4’s 102-82 blowout loss, but the team’s training staff thought it would be irresponsible to let him play, so he was held out (Twitter link via Jackson). The groin injury isn’t considered to be a long-term concern, but obviously the Heat are being cautious with their Sixth Man of the Year winner after seeing Kyle Lowry re-injure his hamstring against Philadelphia.

The Celtics will have their full starting lineup intact for the first time this series, as both Marcus Smart (sprained right ankle) and Robert Williams (knee soreness) will be active tonight, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). Smart missed Game 4 with the injury, while Williams missed Game 3.

Boston head coach Ime Udoka said the Defensive Player of the Year isn’t 100 percent healthy, but his mobility is “good enough” to play through the pain.

He (Smart) has enough movement where he’s not restricted in certain areas like a few days ago,” Udoka said.

As for Williams, Udoka said he won’t have any type of minutes restriction, but added that the team is hopeful to reduce his minutes if possible (Twitter links via Weiss).

All three players had previously been listed as questionable for Wednesday’s crucial Game 5. The series is currently tied at two games apiece.

Miami holds home-court advantage and would host a potential Game 7 if it gets that far, but Boston has looked like the slightly better team through four games, posting a +7.7 net rating. In our poll earlier today, a bit more than 72 percent of our readers predicted the Celtics to advance to the NBA Finals.

With Herro sidelined, Victor Oladipo, who has emerged as a regular part of the Heat’s rotation since midway through the first-round series vs. Atlanta, figures to once again play significant minutes. Oladipo contributed 23 points, four rebounds and six assists in Game 4, but unfortunately for Miami, he outscored the entire starting lineup (23 to 18). The Heat will need a much more balanced effort to take Game 5 and the lead in the series.

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