Caleb Martin is listed as questionable for Monday’s Game 4 with a back contusion, but there’s little doubt that he’ll be ready when the Heat call on him, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Martin was also questionable on Saturday after hurting his back when he slid into the Knicks’ bench while chasing a loose ball in Game 2. He managed to play 23 minutes, even though he was seen grabbing his back in pain a few times.
“You kind of got to,” Martin said. “I think you don’t really have a choice. We’re going to do everything in our power, especially me. If you can play and if you can go, then that’s what you got to do. It’s that point of the season, everybody is banged up.”
Chiang notes that Martin missed 10 regular season games due to injuries, but nine of those were concentrated in a 14-game stretch starting in mid-December. Coach Erik Spoelstra indicated that even when Martin was most banged up, the team “had to take that decision out of his hands” to prevent him from trying to play.
“He’s such a competitor,” Spoelstra said. “He doesn’t want to miss time and he doesn’t have an off button except for like off the court, he’s pretty chill. It’s a pretty good balance he has there. But once he steps in between those four lines, he’s a savage competitor. That’s what we love about him.”
There’s more from Miami:
- Kyle Lowry has become a valuable part of the Heat’s reserve unit since Spoelstra decided to bring him off the bench when he returned in March after sitting out time with knee pain, per William Guillory of The Athletic. Lowry had started 677 straight games when he was active, but he was so effective in the new role that it became permanent. “One of the things we’ve found is you’re bringing a Hall-of-Fame mind off the bench,” Spoelstra said. “Our second unit was struggling for much of the year. Shift him (to the bench) and a lot of the things we were working on endlessly just kind of get taken care of. … He is an ultimate winner. What drives him more than anything is winning.”
- Tyler Herro could also find himself in a reserve role if the Heat are able to keep playing long enough for him to return from a broken right hand, suggests Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Herro underwent surgery April 21 and is expected to be sidelined until early June.
- Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald examines how the Heat’s defense has shut down the Knicks through the first three games of their series, holding them to 99.3 PPG on 42.1% shooting from the field.