The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are in the middle of a war of attrition in the Eastern Conference finals with the series tied at 2-2. The injury list for both teams heading into Game 5 tonight is lengthy with Marcus Smart (ankle), Robert Williams III (knee), Jimmy Butler (knee), Tyler Herro (groin), Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Max Strus (hamstring), Gabe Vincent (hamstring), and PJ Tucker (knee).
The Heat are +2.5 home dogs against the Celtics in Game 5 and Boston is the favorite to win the series at -200 odds. The Heat are underdogs at +175 odds to win the Eastern Conference crown.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are the consensus favorite to win the 2022 NBA Championship at -145 odds. The Celtics are second on DraftKings’ futures board at +200 odds to win the title, and the Heat are +650 odds.
Celtics: Smart game-time decision in Game 5
Smart suffered an ankle injury in Game 3 with a nasty sprain. He hobbled off the court, yet returned to action to finish the game. Smart sat out Game 4, and he could miss his second game in a row for the Celtics. According to the latest injury report, the Celtics listed Smart as questionable in Game 5.
Derrick White will start if Smart is a last-minute scratch. With White the next man up, expect Payton Pritchard to see a bump in playing time as well.
Williams had knee soreness earlier in the postseason after he returned to action following a late-season knee injury. Williams suffered a bone bruise on his left knee when he collided with Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo during Game 3 in the second round. He missed the last four games of the East semifinals, but played the first two games in the Eastern Conference finals. Williams missed Game 3, but played in Game 4. He’s currently listed as questionable with left knee soreness, and he’ll be a game-time decision.
Tatum bounced back from a neck and nerve impingement in Game 3 with a game-high 31 points in Game 4. Tatum mentioned that there he still has some lingering effects, but they’re nothing that will keep him out of the starting lineup for the Celtics in Game 5.
#NEBHInjuryReport for Game 4 vs. Miami:
Sam Hauser (right shoulder instability episode) – OUT
Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain) – QUESTIONABLE
Jayson Tatum (right cervical nerve impingement) – PROBABLE
Robert Williams (left knee soreness) – QUESTIONABLE
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 22, 2022
Heat: everyone is questionable
Butler is the biggest question mark, as he’s been dealing with knee inflammation for the second half of the season. Even if Butler plays in Game 5, how effective can he be with the nagging swollen and sore knee?
Butler sat out the second half of Game 3 and looked sluggish and ineffective during his court time in the first half. He started in Game 4, but wasn’t his usual bulldog and explosive self. He scored six points in 27 minutes and missed 11 shots. He’s the guy who usually draws fouls for the Heat, but he didn’t go to the free-throw line once because he avoided contact and settled on a lot of outside shots and jumpers.
Herro, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, suffered a groin injury sometime in Game 3. His 3-point shooting has been off all postseason, so there’s a good chance his groin had been bothering him the last couple of weeks. When Herro missed Game 4, the Heat indicated they were sitting him out so he could play in Game 5. Let’s see if that’s the case, but for now, he’s listed as questionable.
Lowry missed the first two games of this series with a hamstring injury. He looked fine in Game 3’s victory, but looked like he was running through sand in Game 4’s loss. Lowry is also questionable for Game 5, and if he can’t play, the Heat will insert Gabe Vincent in the starting lineup.
Tucker, one of the oldest and toughest players in the NBA, has a knee injury, but he won’t let Erik Spoelstra keep him out of the lineup.
Check out more of OG’s extensive coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.