Heat guard Gabe Vincent, whose scorching shooting in the Eastern Conference finals helped his team to a 3-1 series lead against the Celtics, missed Game 5 on Thursday night because of a left ankle sprain.
Vincent suffered the injury with eight minutes left in the third quarter of Boston’s Game 4 win in Miami on Tuesday when he had his 3-pointer from the left corner blocked by Jayson Tatum, leapt to retrieve the loose ball, and twisted the ankle on his landing.
“It’s really unfortunate,” Vincent said. “I’m a competitor, I love to compete with my guys, and it’s definitely the highest stakes.”
During this series, Vincent is averaging 17.5 points and connecting on 57.9 percent of his shots overall and 50 percent of his 3-pointers. He was replaced in the starting lineup by veteran point guard Kyle Lowry, who entered Thursday averaging 6.8 points per game on 35.5 percent shooting in the series and scored just 5 points in 30 minutes in the Heat’s 110-97 loss in Game 5.
The Heat’s backcourt is already undermanned, with star guard Tyler Herro sidelined as he recovers from a broken hand, and backup guard Victor Oladipo out for the season with a knee injury.
Vincent went to the locker room soon after suffering the injury, before returning to play part of the fourth quarter in Game 4. It’s unclear whether Vincent will be available to play in Game 6 in Miami on Saturday night, but he sounded slightly optimistic before Thursday’s game.
“Made a lot of progress even from when we got in last night,” he said. “Just moving in the right direction. I hope it continues to trend that way and we’ll see what happens.”
Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon entered Game 5 in a bit of a shooting slump. He was just 1 for 11 from the field and 0 for 5 from the 3-point line over the previous two games as he deals with the remnants of a right forearm strain.
The injury landed him on the injury report prior to Game 1, but he has not been listed since then and has played in every game. But the reigning Sixth Man of the Year had yet to recapture the scoring burst he displayed during the regular season, when he made 44.4 percent of his 3-pointers and averaged 14.9 points per game.
“He’s playing through it, giving us whatever he has, and we’re just kind of going through it like that, how he’s playing and how he’s managing it,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “He’s fighting through, and grateful for that.”
Brogdon played just eight minutes in Game 5 and was scoreless, missing his two shot attempts.
Herro still not close
Herro, who has been sidelined since breaking his right hand during Game 1 of the opening-round series against the Bucks, was recently cleared to resume basketball activities. He took part in a shooting workout prior to Thursday’s game but is not expected to play in this series.
“He’s just starting this,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.