With a 3-2 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers, the top-seeded Miami Heat are trying to clinch a spot in the Eastern Conference finals, but they won’t have starting point guard Kyle Lowry in Game 6 tonight due to a lingering hamstring injury.
Lowry will sit out for the second consecutive game. Despite his missing Game 5, the Heat demolished the 76ers in a 35-point blowout, improving to 6-0 at home this postseason.
Oddsmakers installed the Heat as +2.5 road dogs against the 76ers in Philadelphia for Game 6. The Heat are 1-2 on the road in the playoffs, including losing Games 3 and 4 in Philly.
According to DraftKings’ series markets, the Heat are -380 odds favorites to knock out the 76ers. Meanwhile, the 76ers are +300 odds to win the next two games and upset the Heat to claim a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat are +550 odds to win the 2022 NBA championship while the 76ers are one of the long shots on the futures board at +3000 odds.
Lowry: sore hammy over Miami
Lowry averaged 13.4 points, 7.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds with the Heat this season. Pat Riley added Lowry in the offseason because he wanted a veteran point guard to help lead the Heat to a championship run. Lowry won a title with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.
Lowry suffered a hamstring injury in the first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. He missed three games against the Hawks, then missed the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the 76ers.
“I know how competitive Kyle is and how much he wants to be out there, particularly at this point in his career,” said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “This is what he’s playing for, these moments.”
Lowry returned to action in Game 3, but the Heat lost both games he played.
Gabe Vincent started five games for the Heat when Lowry went down. He averaged 7.6 points and 3.2 assists per game. In Game 5’s victory, Lowry scored 15 points and added five rebounds plus two assists.
Victor Oladipo appeared in seven games in the postseason, including one start. He’s been providing an offensive boost off the bench on the second unit with Tyler Herro. Oladipo averages 12.4 ppg this postseason.
Time loves a Herro
Herro, the 2022 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, saw his scoring average dip in the postseason. He’s averaging only 14.2 ppg in the playoffs compared to 20.2 ppg in the regular season. He was instant offense off the bench as the Heat’s second-best scorer, which is one of the reasons he was recognized as the NBA’s top reserve with the prestigious Sixth Man of the Year award.
Herro struggled against the Hawks, averaging 12.6 ppg, but the Heat didn’t really rely on him because they locked up that series in five games. In the second round against the 76ers, Herro’s lackluster performance is well noted.
Herro averages 15.6 ppg against the 76ers, but he’s gone cold from 3-point range. He shot 3-for-14 over his last three games for just 21.4%. He shot nearly 40% from downtown this season, so it’s a noticeable drop-off.
“With shooters, you gotta shoot your way out of a slump,” said teammate Jimmy Butler. “There’s no other way around it. Tyler will bust out of it. All great shooters do.”
If the Heat expect to clinch the series in Game 6, they’ll need a big game from Herro.
Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.