MIAMI – The tension of Kyle Lowry’s left hamstring brought him back to the bench.
Lowry’s foot problem forced the Miami Heat to eliminate the original defender in the 5th game of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
He missed four games earlier in the postseason due to a hamstring problem and then exacerbated the situation in Game 4 of Miami on Sunday. Lowry continued to play for most of the game, sometimes limping and finishing 3 on 10 off the floor, 0 on 6 on a 3-point loss to Miami 116-108.
“I know how competitive Kyle is and how much he wants to be there, especially at this point in his career,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said Tuesday. “That’s what he plays for, those moments … I feel for him.”
In the fifth game of the series on Tuesday, “Hit” and “76ers” will play 2-2. Lowry was with Heat in training on Tuesday morning – “as active as anyone” – said Spoelstra – and he will continue to appear on the list as every day.
Game 6 – Thursday in Philadelphia. The seventh game, if necessary, will be on Sunday in Miami, which is also the first possible start date for the Eastern Conference finals.
Lowry received treatment on Monday and was hoping to get on the court for Game 5. The heat didn’t take long to determine that was impossible.
“I’ll put it this way: you don’t want to play with it,” Lowry said after 4 games on Sunday night.
In two games in Philadelphia Lowry got 3 on 14, missing all eight of his 3-point attempts. He was originally injured in Game 3 of the first round against Atlanta.
“Oh, I’m sure it affects him,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday. “I don’t know how much, but I can’t imagine having a hamstring in the playoffs and playing with it. It should to be – even if it is not physical – must necessarily have a mental effect.There is no doubt about it.
Miami enters Tuesday with a 16-7 record in games that Lowry missed this season.
“I know how badly he wants to be there,” Heath guard Tyler Era said, adding that Lowry would be insufficient. “He’s obviously not there, so we need another voice on the court that can help us get into our spots.”
Lowry played this role – “another voice” that Hero spoke of – from the bench in Games 1 and 2, and Spoelstra expects the same during this absence.
“He’s so sharp,” said Spoelstra.
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