As the Miami Heat look to close out the Boston Celtics and advance to the NBA Finals, they’ll be without one of their top performers for Game 5. Heat guard Gabe Vincent has officially been listed as out for Thursday’s matchup at TD Garden, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
“Development: Miami’s Gabe Vincent is listed out for Game 5 vs. Boston tonight with an ankle sprain,” Charania reported on Thursday morning.
Being without the 28-year-old point guard will make things a bit tougher on the Heat. He’s been their third leading scorer throughout the series with the Celtics, averaging 17.5 points per game, while shooting a ridiculous 57.9% from the field and 50.0% from beyond the arc.
Vincent has taken a huge leap in the Eastern Conference Finals. In Miami’s first two playoff matchups against the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks, his numbers were much different. Vincent averaged just 11.4 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game, while making just 36.8% of his attempts from the floor and 33.8% from deep.
With one of their leading scorers sidelined in a game on the road, it’ll be interesting to see who Miami turns to to fill the void.
The most obvious choice would be Kyle Lowry, who began the season as a starter. He missed a solid chunk of time due to a lower left knee injury, and when he returned, Erik Spoelstra brought him off the bench.
In games where Lowry was a reserve, the Heat netted an 8-3 record. Plus, the 37-year-old saw his efficiency improve in those games, shooting 42.5% from 3-point territory, compared to just 34.5% as a starter.
Jaylen Brown Alludes to Flukey Performances by Heat Role Players
Vincent hasn’t been the only rotation player who’s made a tremendous impact against Boston this series. Heat forward Caleb Martin has seen a similar boost in production in the conference finals.
His scoring averaged jumped up from 10.8 points per game over the opening two rounds, to 18.5 points per game against the Celtics, while shooting an insane 63.8% from the field.
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown addressed the major impact of players like Vincent and Martin, saying that they’re “playing well above their means.”
“To their credit, they’re playing well above their means,” Brown said about the Heat after Game 3, via CBS Sports. “They balling right now, and I’ve got to give them respect. Gabe Vincent, Martin, Strus, Duncan Robinson, guys that we should be able to keep under control are playing their a** off.”
Erik Spoelstra Says Heat Remain Locked In After Game 4 Loss
Following Miami’s lone loss of the series, Spoelstra was questioned on if he thinks his players had let go of the rope a bit
“No, I don’t — I didn’t sense any of that,” Spoelstra insisted. “At some point this is great competition. Sometimes it can get skewed because, whatever, the 3-0 but we have great respect for Boston, what they’re capable of. They’re a dynamic offensive team. It takes extraordinary efforts and commitment to get the job done.”
He was sure to credit the opposition for putting up a fight with their backs against the wall.
“Our guys really want this but Boston has something to say about it as well, just like we do.”