The Miami Heat have a lot to celebrate following their dominant 99-90 series-clinching Game 6 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, May 12. However, the victory graphic that the Heat’s official Twitter posted after clinching their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals didn’t sit well with Hawks star, Trae Young.
Young called out the Heat’s celebratory graphic for not featuring guard Gabe Vincent, who’s been a key part of the team’s starting lineup since Kyle Lowry is out with an injured hamstring. In all six of Vincent’s starts in the postseason, the Heat have gone undefeated.
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Young tweeted, “Y’all better find a way to put Gabe Vincent up here too lol fr though,” a message which quickly went viral.
Vincent saw Young’s message and retweeted it with an added note, “Respect. bro.”
The Miami Heat also saw Young’s message and decided he was absolutely right. “Fixed it,” the Heat’s Twitter account wrote, and shared an updated graphic featuring Vincent between Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
During the first round of the Eastern Conference playoff series, Young learned first-hand what it’s like to be heavily guarded by Vincent, whose physical approach greatly stunted the All-Star’s performance.
Following Game 2 of the Heat/Hawks series, Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang reported, “Young has totaled just three points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field in 31 possessions with Vincent as his primary defender to open the series. In addition, Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic has scored just two points on 0-of-2 shooting from the field with Vincent on him.”
Vincent Has Earned Respect & Accolades From His Teammates
The breakout performance from the undrafted guard out of UC Santa Barbara is no fluke, per Heat’s head coach Erik Spoesltra. “It’s been an incremental process over 2 1/2 years,” Spoelstra said. “It’s not like it happened overnight. And he’s not a 20-year-old. He played four years of college, G League for two years, and then in our program for 2 1/2 years. So, to me, he’s a vet.”
Heat veteran P.J. Tucker praised Vincent prior to Game 6 against the Sixers. “Gabe is probably the most selfless dude,” Tucker said. “That dude could go from starting and playing 30 minutes for months to not subbing in. He’s been through it all. He literally has played every position on this team throughout the year and been ready. He has the same attitude every day, gives the same effort every day.”
Butler also gave Vincent props. “He’s just pesky as hell on the defensive end, making it tough for whoever he’s lined up against,” the six-time All-Star said. “He doesn’t back down. We all respect that, we all love him for that.”
The Eastern Conference Finals Will Start Tuesday
While the Heat has secured their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals, they must wait and see who their opponent will be. Next up, the Heat will face the winner of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics. The Bucks lead 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Milwaukee, which takes place on Friday, May 13.
In the meantime, the NBA released the schedule for the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, both of which take place at FTX Arena at 8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 16, and Thursday, May 18.
“You want to acknowledge the steps along the way,” Spoelstra said heading to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat’s sixth time in the last 12 seasons. “We have been doing this 27 years since Pat [Riley] came back to South Florida, nine conference finals. It’s not easy in this league. And I wanted everyone in the locker room to acknowledge that. It’s not everything, but it’s something.”