Gabe Vincent

Heat Notes: Lowry, Zone Defense, Injury Report

With the Heat facing an extensive injury list for Friday’s game at Washington, Kyle Lowry told the coaching staff he was good for 48 minutes if needed, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Lowry wound up playing even more than that, logging 51 minutes and posting a triple-double in a one-point overtime loss.

Lowry’s only rest during the 53 minutes of action came with about a minute left in the third quarter. He returned a minute into the fourth quarter, but Miami was outscored by five points during that time, which proved to be critical.

“It was kind of one of those situations that you got to do what it takes to win the basketball game,” said Lowry, who posted the third-highest minutes total of his long career. “Coach trusted me a lot. He trusted me tonight. He’s always trusted me, but tonight before I walked into the building, I said: ‘48 [minutes].’ I got to 50.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Injuries have been a problem all season, and coach Erik Spoelstra is relying on a zone defense more than usual to compensate, Chiang adds. Miami used a 2-3 zone on 63 possessions Friday night and has played a zone 21.4% of the time this season, which would easily set a modern NBA record. “You got to do what you got to do,” Lowry said. “We were the Syracuse Heat tonight.”
  • After having just seven available players Friday, the Heat may get some reinforcements for Sunday’s game at Cleveland, Chiang notes in a separate story. Bam Adebayo, who has missed the past two games with a left knee contusion, is listed as questionable, as are Dewayne Dedmon, who’s suffering from a non-COVID illness, and Gabe Vincent, who has a left knee effusion. Jimmy Butler has been ruled out for the final two games of the road trip, and Duncan Robinson is doubtful due to a sprained right hand he suffered during Friday’s shootaround. Udonis Haslem, Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo and Omer Yurtseven all remain unavailable.
  • Following a 7-9 start, the Heat have limited options for improvement other than an unwise trade involving draft picks, states Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Some suggestions Winderman offers include more minutes for first-round pick Nikola Jovic and restoring Herro to his sixth-man role.

Jimmy Butler Out At Least Three Games With Knee Soreness

After being ruled out of Friday’s game at Washington with knee soreness, Heat star Jimmy Butler is expected to return to Miami on Saturday and miss upcoming road games at Cleveland on Sunday and at Minnesota on Monday as well, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter).

The Heat are absolutely decimated by injuries at the moment. Victor Oladipo (knee tendinosis) and Omer Yurtseven (ankle surgery) have yet to play this season; Udonis Haslem is away from the team for personal reasons; Tyler Herro (ankle) and Dewayne Dedmon (non-COVID illness) are both out Friday; Gabe Vincent was initially not on the injury report but experienced swelling in his knee after today’s shootaround and has subsequently been ruled out; Duncan Robinson caught his hand in a jersey during shootaround and will miss his first career game due to injury; and finally, Bam Adebayo is out Friday after previously being listed as questionable (All Twitter links via Winderman).

That leaves just Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Caleb Martin, Haywood Highsmith and Nikola Jovic available out of the 14-man standard roster, plus two-way rookies Jamal Cain and Orlando Robinson for a total of seven healthy players. According to Winderman (Twitter link), the Heat plan to list Vincent as active despite being ruled out to meet the minimum requirement of eight players in uniform.

On a positive note, there’s a chance Herro could return Sunday against the Cavs, Winderman tweets. Friday will market his sixth straight absence due to a left ankle sprain.

The Heat are currently 7-8, the No. 10 seed in the East.

Heat Guarantee Salaries For Strus, Vincent, Yurtseven

As expected, the Heat let a June 29 salary guarantee deadline come and go for three players who had non-guaranteed minimum salaries for 2022/23.

According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link), Max Strus ($1,815,677), Gabe Vincent ($1,815,677), and Omer Yurtseven ($1,752,638) now have guaranteed contracts for next season.

Strus, 26, emerged as a regular part of the Heat’s rotation this past season, averaging 10.6 PPG with a .410 3PT% in 68 regular season games (23.3 MPG). He entered the starting lineup down the stretch and for all 18 of Miami’s postseason contests, since he was more reliable defensively than fellow sharpshooter Duncan Robinson.

Vincent, serving as the primary backup at the point for Kyle Lowry, averaged 8.7 PPG and 3.1 APG on .417/.368/.815 shooting in 68 regular season appearances (23.4 MPG).

Yurtseven didn’t have as significant a role as Strus or Vincent, but did get into the starting lineup for 12 of his 56 appearances, averaging a double-double (12.1 PPG, 12.7 RPG) in those 12 starts. He registered 5.3 PPG and 5.3 RPG in 12.6 minutes per contest for the season.

Strus and Vincent are now on track to reach unrestricted free agency in 2023, while Yurtseven will be eligible for restricted free agency next summer.

Heat Notes: Martin, Strus, Vincent, Q. Jackson

A free agent last offseason, Caleb Martin only had one offer on the table – a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract from the Trail Blazers – before he earned a two-way deal with the Heat, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

After making the most of his opportunity in Miami, Martin figures to draw more interest when he returns to free agency this summer. As long as the Heat issue him a $2.1MM qualifying offer, Martin will be a restricted free agent, giving them the right of first refusal if he signs an offer sheet with another team.

However, as Chiang notes, the Heat’s resources to re-sign Martin will be limited. Miami only holds his Non-Bird rights, which gives the club the ability to offer 20% above the minimum. If rival suitors are willing to offer him more than that, the Heat would have to dip into their bi-annual exception ($4.05MM) or mid-level exception ($10.35MM) to make a competitive bid.

“Obviously, being open-minded during free agency. You have to be and it’s my first experience with that,” Martin said after Miami’s season ended. “But I want to be (with the Heat). I love being here. I want to be here, so that’s all I got on my mind right now until I see what happens or whatever type of experience I’m going to get in free agency.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Max Strus displaced Duncan Robinson in the Heat’s starting lineup in part because he has a more well-rounded game and offers more defensive versatility, but Strus believes he still has plenty to work on this offseason, Chiang writes for The Herald. “Just got to be more complete,” Strus said. “Obviously, teams are going to force me to make plays inside the arc. So I got to get better there.” As Chiang notes, the Heat are a lock to hang onto Strus through June 29, when his $1.8MM salary for 2022/23 will become guaranteed.
  • A year ago, Gabe Vincent spent the offseason representing Nigeria in the Olympics and then playing for the Heat’s Summer League team before attempting to make Miami’s regular season roster. With his roster spot all but assured for ’22/23, Vincent is looking forward to focusing on his own development this summer, with no outside obligations, says Chiang. “This might be a real offseason,” Vincent said, adding that he plans to study Chris Paul as he works on improving his mid-range game. “I haven’t really stopped playing basketball in 12 months.”
  • Texas A&M guard Quenton Jackson is among the prospects to work out for the Heat during the pre-draft process, according to Chiang. Jackson is the No. 86 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • The Heat’s scouting department is working hard preparing to select a player at No. 27 next Thursday, but recognizes that team president Pat Riley could ultimately decide to trade that pick, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “We’re focusing on 27, but that also means we could possibly move up, keep the pick, move back. It gives us options,” VP of basketball operations Adam Simon said. “Last year, we didn’t have a pick. We had to prepare if we could get in, and we ended up focusing on guys that weren’t going to get drafted. We could do that again.”

Heat Notes: Herro, Vincent, Tucker, Roster

Heat guard Tyler Herro believes he has earned a starting role with the team next year, prompting Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel to explore whether such a role change would make sense. Herro won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award this season, averaging 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 66 regular-season games.

“I would like to start,” Herro said during a recent media availability. “I think it’s my fourth year, so hopefully, I’ve earned it, and we’ll see what happens.”

Assuming Miami doesn’t trade Herro, starting him would give them another halfcourt point-of-attack, which would be useful against elite Eastern Conference defenses such as Milwaukee or Boston. In addition to being the Heat’s second-leading scorer, Herro also shot a career-high 45% from the floor and 40% from three-point range this season.

Here are some other notes out of Miami:

  • In a separate story for the Sun Sentinel, Ira Winderman examines whether Gabe Vincent provides a solution to the team’s depth issues at point guard. Kyle Lowry dealt with a strained hamstring during the playoffs, which allowed Vincent to play more minutes at times. In 18 playoff games, he averaged 8.0 points and 3.2 assists per contest, shooting 38% from the floor and 31% from behind the arc.
  • Winderman also considers whether the team’s power forward carousel will stop with P.J. Tucker. The Heat started Jae Crowder in its 2020 NBA Finals run, then experimented with Kelly Olynyk and Trevor Ariza in 2021. The team ultimately signed Tucker to fill the role last summer, but he can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
  • Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald provides a player-by-playe rroster breakdown for the offseason. Miami is coming off a seven-game defeat to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. The team was the No. 1 seed in the East this season, but dealt with several injuries in the playoffs.

Celtics/Heat Injury Updates: Smart, Williams, Herro, Lowry

Celtics starting point guard Marcus Smart and starting center Robert Williams have both been listed as questionable for a critical Game 5 tomorrow in their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Heat, Boston announced (Twitter link).

Smart has a right ankle sprain. Williams missed Game 3 with a sore knee, but proved to be a key defensive contributor in Boston’s 102-82 blowout Game 4 victory over Miami.

The Heat, meanwhile, have listed a whopping five role players as questionable ahead of Wednesday’s home contest. Miami has announced (via Twitter) that starting point guard Kyle Lowry, starting shooting guard Max Strus, starting power forward P.J. Tucker, and crucial reserves Gabe Vincent and Tyler Herro all have murky availability for the next game in the 2-2 series.

Lowry, Strus and Vincent are all grappling with hamstring injuries, while Tucker is dealing with left knee irritation. Lowry missed the first two games of the series with his left hamstring strain, and returned in a productive Game 3. In that game, Lowry chipped in 11 points, six assists and four steals. Vincent started in Lowry’s stead for the first two contests. Smart and Herro both sat for Game 4.

Herro was sidelined for Game 4 with a groin injury he suffered during Game 3, a 109-103 Heat victory. The injury could be a lingering problem.

“From what I’m told, this is an injury, this groin injury he has, that would normally keep him out two-to-four weeks if this was the regular season, but he is pushing really hard to play, either in the next game or the game after that,” Ramona Shelburne said today during an ESPN appearance (Twitter video link).

In addition to Game 4, Smart – the newly-minted Defensive Player of the Year – also missed Game 1 of the series due to a right mid-foot sprain. He has been incredibly productive when available during the series, averaging 20.0 PPG, 9.5 APG, and 6.5 RPG in the second and third contests of these Eastern Conference Finals.

All-Star Miami swingman Jimmy Butler, who missed the second half of a Game 3 Heat win with right knee inflammation and struggled offensively in Game 4, has not been listed on Miami’s injury report.

Tyler Herro Out For Game 4; Jimmy Butler Intends To Play

The Heat will be missing the Sixth Man of the Year on Monday, announcing today (via Twitter) that Tyler Herro has been ruled out for Game 4 due to his left groin strain. He has previously been listed as questionable.

Although Herro will be unavailable for Monday’s contest, he doesn’t believe his groin injury will be a long-term issue. According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), Herro is still feeling some discomfort when he runs, but he’s targeting a Game 5 return on Wednesday.

Miami had also listed Jimmy Butler (right knee inflammation), Kyle Lowry (left hamstring strain), Max Strus (right hamstring strain), P.J. Tucker (left knee irritation) and Gabe Vincent (left hamstring strain) as questionable for Game 4, but all five players appear on track to play, per the team.

The plan is for Butler, Lowry, Strus, Tucker, and Vincent to go through warm-ups with the intent to play, so they’ll be available unless they suffer a setback during their pre-game routines.

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 with Herro sidelined. Assuming they get the green light to suit up, Lowry, Strus, and Vincent will also have major backcourt roles as Miami looks to take a 3-1 lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Heat’s Butler, Celtics’ Williams Questionable For Game 4

Heat star Jimmy Butler (knee inflammation) and Celtics center Robert Williams III (knee soreness) are both listed as questionable for Game 4 on Monday night, according to the teams’ injury reports.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Butler plans to play. He missed the second half of Game 3 due to the injury, while Williams missed the entire contest.

The Heat are also listing Tyler Herro (groin strain), Kyle Lowry (hamstring strain), Max Strus (hamstring strain), P.J. Tucker (knee irritation) and Gabe Vincent (hamstring strain) as questionable.

In addition, the Celtics have listed Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain) as questionable and Jayson Tatum (right cervical nerve impingement) as probable to play.

Smart and Tatum suffered their injuries during Game 3, leaving the court momentarily before returning a short time later. Miami has been listing Lowry, Tucker, Vincent and Strus on its injury report for quite some time, though Tucker suffered his knee injury this series. He was previously dealing with a calf strain.

Despite missing Butler in the second half, Miami held on to win Game 3 and take a 2-1 series lead. Boston also missed Williams, one of the league’s best interior defenders, as Bam Adebayo finished with 31 points. A Boston win on Monday would tie the series 2-2, while a loss would mean the Celtics have to head back to Miami facing a 3-1 deficit and possible elimination in Game 5 on Wednesday.

Lowry Out For Game 2; Smart Probable, Horford Doubtful

The Heat and Celtics have released their latest injury updates (Twitter links) for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals matchup on Thursday. Miami’s Kyle Lowry (hamstring) remains out for Game 2, but Boston’s Marcus Smart (right mid-foot sprain) has been upgraded to probable after both players missed Game 1.

In addition to Smart, Al Horford (health and safety protocols) is listed as doubtful for Boston, while little-used backup Sam Hauser (right shoulder) is out.

For Miami, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent are both listed as questionable with hamstring issues, but both Heat players have appeared in all 12 postseason games to this point, so it would be surprising if they’re unavailable on Thursday.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported earlier today that Smart was targeting a Game 2 return and that Horford was “highly unlikely” to be available, and Boston’s official designations align with Haynes’ sources.

Strangely, the Heat have gone 7-0 in the playoffs in Lowry’s absence to this point, and lost both games he played against Philadelphia, when he was clearly still hampered by the hamstring strain. Vincent has filled in admirably for the team’s normal starting point guard, and that’s likely to continue.

Miami leads the series 1-0 after a 118-107 victory on Tuesday, led by 41 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks (plus stellar shooting) from Jimmy Butler. The turning point in the first game was the third quarter, when Miami outscored Boston 39-14, led by Butler’s 17 points.

Kyle Lowry To Miss Game 1 Of Eastern Conference Finals

Heat point guard Kyle Lowry has officially been listed as out for Game 1 against the Celtics due to his lingering hamstring injury, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets.

The news comes as no surprise since Lowry didn’t practice on Monday. Hobbled by the injury, Lowry has appeared in only five postseason games. He last took the court in Game 4 of the semifinals against Philadelphia, when he scored just six points with seven assists and four turnovers in 30 minutes on May 8.

Caleb Martin (ankle sprain), Max Strus (hamstring strain), P.J. Tucker (calf strain) and Gabe Vincent (hamstring strain) are listed as questionable, Chiang adds in another tweet. Most Heat players who have been listed as questionable throughout the playoffs have ended up being active.

Strus has been one of the breakout performers in the postseason. He averaged 19.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG in Games 5 and 6 against Philadelphia. Tucker averaged 8.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 1.7 APG in 30.7 MPG during the Sixers series while providing his usual hard-nosed defense.