Kyle Lowry

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.

Celtics/Heat Injury Updates: Smart, Williams, Lowry

The Celtics are listing guard Marcus Smart as questionable for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday due to a right mid-foot sprain he sustained in Game 7 of the Eastern Semifinals, the team announced today (via Twitter).

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Smart underwent an MRI on his injured foot and the imaging came back clean, which bodes well for the Celtics and the Defensive Player of the Year going forward. The hope, Wojnarowski says, is that Smart will be good to go for Game 1 vs. Miami, but the team will see how he feels on Tuesday before making a final decision.

In other Celtics injury news, Robert Williams will be available for the series vs. Miami with no minutes restrictions after missing the last four games of the Milwaukee series due to a bone bruise in his left knee (Twitter link).

Williams was technically active and available for Game 7 on Sunday, but head coach Ime Udoka said he didn’t want to adjust his rotation, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Heat point guard Kyle Lowry, who continues to battle a left hamstring injury, didn’t practice on Monday and appears unlikely to be available for Game 1, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

For what it’s worth, Jimmy Butler expressed confidence on Monday that Lowry is close to returning, telling reporters his teammate is in good spirits and remains engaged (Twitter link via Jackson).

Heat Notes: Lowry, Starting Lineup, Strus, Butler

Heat guard Kyle Lowry (hamstring) didn’t practice with the team on Sunday, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Lowry was with the team for practice, but he didn’t participate. As Jackson notes, this doesn’t bode well for his status this week, as the Eastern Conference Finals will tip off on Tuesday.

Lowry suffered a hamstring injury in the first round against Atlanta. Last round, the Heat went 4-0 against the Sixers without him and 0-2 with him, but he was playing through the injury in his two games. Lowry ranked fourth on the team in scoring (13.4 points per game) and first in assists (7.5 per game) this season.

With Miami playing Boston next round, the team could use Lowry as an offensive option, as the Celtics are viewed as one of the league’s elite defenses. The Heat will likely continue to rely more on Gabe Vincent, Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo until Lowry returns.

Here are some other notes from Miami:

  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines whether playing Lowry off the bench is a viable option. The Heat have started Vincent in place of Lowry and may not want to impact its ongoing chemistry, but Lowry started in all 63 of his regular season games this season. Aside from being a better player, Lowry also holds more playoff experience than Vincent does, making a move to the bench seem unlikely.
  • Max Strus has played a key role in the team advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press writes. Strus finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds in Game 5 against the Sixers last round, then recorded 20 points and 11 rebounds to win the series in Game 6. “It’s one of the biggest moments, not only in my career, but in my life,” Strus said. “This is the moment you want to be in being a basketball player and doing what we do for a living. And I’m super excited and want to start [next series] tomorrow.”
  • Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald explores how most advanced metrics say Jimmy Butler has been the best player in the playoffs. Butler’s traditional stats have also been superb, as he’s averaging a career-high 28.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. He has also shot 52.5% from the floor and 36% from three-point range, leading Miami to an 8-3 postseason record.

Kyle Lowry Ruled Out For Thursday’s Game 6

Point guard Kyle Lowry has been ruled out for Thursday’s Game 6 between the Heat and Sixers, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Lowry will travel to Philadelphia tomorrow but won’t play in a potential series-clinching contest for Miami. He re-injured his left hamstring in Sunday’s Game 4 and missed Game 5 on Tuesday.

Put it this way, you don’t want to play with it,” Lowry said after Game 4, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. “But we’re in a situation in the playoffs where we’re in a hostile environment, we’re in this together no matter what. Just trying to be out there for my guys, no matter what happens, no matter what the situation is.”

Lowry originally injured the hamstring during Game 3 of Miami’s first-round series against Atlanta and wasn’t able to return until Friday’s Game 3 at Philadelphia, a two-week absence. He played 25 minutes in his first game back, but went scoreless while missing all four of his shots from the field. He was on the court for 30 minutes Sunday, posting six points, three rebounds and seven assists on 3-of-10 shooting.

I appreciate him,” Jimmy Butler said. “We all do. The fact that he wants to play, he wants to compete, he knows our best chance of winning is with him on the floor. We understand that, but we also want our guy to be safe, man. We always have more than enough to win. We always say that. We do believe that.”

Although it would be disappointing for both Lowry and the Heat, Joe Vardon of The Athletic argues that Lowry shouldn’t risk further injury by playing again vs. the Sixers. Gabe Vincent and Victor Oladipo have proven capable of handling additional responsibilities in Lowry’s absence, Vardon notes.

For our team, his versatility just really fits,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of Oladipo. “His ability to guard multiple positions but also be able to organize a little bit, have that kind of experience and talent when Kyle is out — that could be devastating to some teams. (But) we have a lot of other guys that have been able to step up and Vic is one of them.

Kyle Lowry Out For Game 5 After Re-Injuring Hamstring

MAY 10: Lowry has been ruled out for Game 5, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Head coach Erik Spoelstra said that the point guard didn’t need another MRI and is considered day-to-day (Twitter link via Friedell).

MAY 9: Kyle Lowry re-injured his left hamstring during the Heat‘s loss at Philadelphia Sunday night and may not be ready to play when the series resumes Tuesday, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN.

Lowry didn’t provide specifics on when the injury happened, but he went to the locker room during the second quarter to have it examined. He didn’t play at all during the final 9:42 of the game.

“Put it this way, you don’t want to play with it,” Lowry told reporters. “But we’re in a situation in the playoffs where we’re in a hostile environment, we’re in this together no matter what. Just trying to be out there for my guys, no matter what happens, no matter what the situation is.”

Lowry plans to get treatment before Game 5 and then “go from there.” He added that he doesn’t expect to need another MRI, but sounded uncertain about his chances to play on Tuesday.

“We’ll see,” Lowry said. “… Tough timing for a hamstring. I’ve never had a soft tissue [injury]. This goal is to be out there. So if you’re asking if I’m gonna try and play, yes, I’ll be trying to play Game 5.”

Lowry originally hurt the hamstring during Game 3 of the first-round series against the Hawks and wasn’t able to return until Friday night. He played 25 minutes in his first game back, but went scoreless while missing all four of his shots from the field. He was on the court for 30 minutes Sunday, posting six points, three rebounds and seven assists.

Friedell notes that Lowry was having difficulty moving after Sunday’s game, and the Heat may have to survive without him in a series that’s now deadlocked at 2-2.

“That’s still not going to give us an excuse to not win these games,” Jimmy Butler said. “Like I said, I want Kyle Lowry on the floor. He’s our starting PG. But if he can’t go, some big shoes to fill, but somebody’s got to do it … For sure if Kyle’s not out there, it’s going to have to be me to get it done.”

Heat Notes: Tucker, Herro, Robinson, Rotation

Heat starting power forward P.J. Tucker, now 37, has been his usual pesky self on the defensive end against the Sixers, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. It’s been a huge boon for Miami, which currently leads Philadelphia 2-1 in the teams’ second-round playoff series.

“P.J. does what he does,” Sixers starting small forward Danny Green said. “We don’t back down. But you’ve got to play smart. Don’t take any cheap stuff. Don’t give any cheap stuff. Be just as physical as they are. We’re going to check people, get into bodies. Let them know we’re here too. We’re here to win. It’s the type of basketball you want to see.”

Jackson noted that Tucker’s repertoire included a litany of hard screens and rugged on-ball defense. The veteran Tucker, who won a title with the Bucks last year, signed a two-year, $15MM contract with the Heat during the offseason. Should he so choose, Tucker could try to capitalize on his successful playoff performance thus far: he has a player option on the 2022/23 season.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Heat Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro lit up the Sixers across Miami’s first two games in the series, both wins, scoring 43 points on 15-of-27 shooting. In response, the Sixers have opted to consistently trap the third-year guard, an issue for which Miami must now game-plan, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “That’s a sign of great respect, how important Tyler is to us,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said of the new defensive attention.
  • Miami’s $90MM man Duncan Robinson has fallen out of the club’s rotation with the ascension of Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Victor Oladipo on the Heat depth chart. The veteran forward is striving to handle the demotion with a positive attitude, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “It has been a challenge,” Robinson acknowledged. “But it comes with the territory. It’s part of being a professional.”
  • With the return of starting Heat point guard Kyle Lowry into the lineup, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if the moves of Oladipo and Vincent to the bench have hurt the reserves’ chemistry. Winderman postulates that Vincent may eventually feel the minutes squeeze as Lowry’s role increases.

Heat Notes: Game 3, Lowry, Herro, Adebayo, Dedmon

The Heat lost Game 3 at Philadelphia 99-79 due to a dreadful shooting performance and a strong fourth quarter from the Sixers, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami shot just 35% from the field and 23% from deep, and was outscored 31-14 in the fourth.

We weren’t totally intentional where we were getting the ball and we paid the price for that,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Kyle Lowry struggled in his return from a strained hamstring, finishing with zero points, three assists and four fouls in 25 minutes, Jackson notes. Lowry had missed four straight playoff games during his two-week absence. He admitted he wasn’t full strength yet.

I’m healthy as I can be right now,” Lowry said. “I had one good day of working out, kind of a half day. I just got to find a rhythm. I didn’t expect to be amazing tonight. [But] I didn’t expect to have zero points.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Tyler Herro may desire a move to the starting lineup next season, but that might not be best for the Heat, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Herro is the team’s primary shot creator off the bench and plays starter minutes (tied for third in MPG with 32.6), so filling that void could be difficult. Victor Oladipo could theoretically slot into Herro’s place, but he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and may desire a starting role himself, Winderman says.
  • There are strong opinions regarding how Bam Adebayo should play, but his versatility is a strength, not a weakness, Winderman relays in another story. “We want Bam to be Bam,” Jimmy Butler said before Game 3. “And I think Spo says it all the time. And it’s funny to me, because like you’re kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If he’s being a playmaker, people are saying you want him to score more. If he’s scoring a lot, then you want him to be a playmaker.” After an awesome first two games against the Sixers, averaging 23.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.5 SPG while shooting 71.4% from the field and 89.5% from the line, Adebayo struggled in Game 3 upon Joel Embiid‘s return, recording nine points, three rebounds, three turnovers and five fouls on 2-of-9 shooting in 33 minutes.
  • Backup center Dewayne Dedmon has seen his minutes reduced in the postseason due to both the Heat and opponents playing smaller lineups, but he’s ready to step in when his name is called, Winderman writes. “We’ve got crazy versatility on this team,” Dedmon said. “So being able to go small and match up with whatever lineup the other team might throw at us, that’s our talent.”

Kyle Lowry Will Start Game 3 Against Sixers

5:33pm: Lowry is active and will start tonight, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

5:00pm: Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters, including Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, that Kyle Lowry is nearing a return for Friday’s Game 3 against the Sixers.

The intention is for him to warm up and play,” Spoelstra said.

The 36-year-old point guard has missed the team’s last four playoff games after suffering a strained left hamstring in Game 3 of Miami’s first-round matchup with Atlanta. Lowry had previously been listed as questionable, but barring any setbacks, it sounds like he should be available.

Stylistically it will change things in the margins,” Spoelstra said of Lowry. “But obviously he’s a highly decorated, experienced, playoff-battle-tested guy. He’s the guy that all season long that we turned to get us organized, particularly in the moments of truth. You need as many guys that you can available during the playoffs, that goes without saying.”

Winderman adds that all of the other Heat players who were listed as questionableTyler Herro (ankle), P.J. Tucker (calf), Gabe Vincent (knee), Max Strus (hamstring), and Caleb Martin (ankle) — will be active on Friday.

Vincent had been starting in place of Lowry, and the team went 4-0 in his absence. If Lowry does play, he’s highly likely to return to the starting lineup, as he started all 63 of his regular season games, averaging 13.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.1 steals with a .440/.377/.851 shooting line.

Embiid Listed As Out For Game 3 But Status Could Change

Joel Embiid is listed as out for Game 3 against the Heat on Friday but the availability of the Sixers All-Star center could change before game time, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

With Miami up 2-0 and the series shifting to Philadelphia, Embiid must be listed as out since he’s still in concussion protocols, Kyle Neubeck of tweets. Listing him as “out” does not necessarily mean he will be sidelined for Game 3, but it means he hasn’t cleared protocols yet, Neubeck explains.

NBA injury list rules would allow the Sixers to update his status over the course of the day on Friday, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets.

Embiid suffered an orbital fracture and mild concussion when he was struck by Pascal Siakam in the late going of Philadelphia’s first-round clincher against the Raptors. The Sixers have been encouraged by Embiid’s progress this week.

The Heat have listed six players as questionable for Game 3, the team’s PR department tweetsKyle Lowry (hamstring), Tyler Herro (ankle), Caleb Martin (ankle), Max Strus (hamstring), P.J. Tucker (calf) and Gabe Vincent (knee) hold that designation but are all traveling to Philadelphia this afternoon. Lowry hasn’t played since Game 3 of the first-round series against Atlanta.