There was no waiting game for Kyle Lowry on Tuesday morning, no Game 5 for the veteran Miami Heat point guard on Tuesday night.
Rather than nailing a decision with Lowry’s balky left hamstring, the Heat announced in their GameDay shootaround that Lowry would sit out for the third time in this Best-of-Seven Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Injured early on April 22 in the Heat’s Game 3 loss during the opening round of the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks, Lowry missed the final two games of that series, which the Heat won 4–1, as well as the series. The first two games against the 76ers.
After winning the Heat’s first two games against the 76ers at the FTX Arena, Lowry returned to play in the Heat’s two defeats in Philadelphia, struggling with his shooting and mobility.
They escalated tensions again in Sunday’s Game 4 loss at Wells Fargo Center, which left the series 2-2 in Tuesday night’s Game 5 draw.
Gabe Vincent started in four playoff games, Lowry missed the start, with the Heat winning all four.
Lowry, 36, is completing the first year of a three-year, $85 million contract he signed in August and as part of a business transaction that sent Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuva to the Toronto Raptors.
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers told reporters during his team’s morning shoot that it was clear Lowry had been compromised.
“Even if it’s not physical,” Rivers said, “it’s absolutely a mental effect. There’s no doubt about it.”
While the Heat-76ers continue with Game 6 at 7 p.m. Thursday in Philadelphia, the scheduling for the next round, the Eastern Conference Finals, is a Sunday or two days later, a May 17 start date. The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics are tied 2–2 in the other Eastern Conference semifinals, with that winner facing the winner of the Heat-76ers.
This story will be updated.