ATLANTA (AP)Miami Heat point guard Kyle Lowry has been ruled out of Game 4 on Sunday night against the Atlanta Hawks because of a left hamstring strain.
Lowry was injured in the third quarter Friday night in a 111-110 loss to the Hawks and did not play in the fourth quarter.
”You have to be smart about it,” coach Erik Spoelstra said Sunday.
Lowry’s absence puts Gabe Vincent in the spotlight as the starter in the matchup against Hawks point guard Trae Young.
Hawks center Clint Capela (right knee hyperextension) is starting after missing the first three games of the series. Capela was cleared following pregame warmups.
The return of Capela to the lineup allows John Collins to move from center to his normal power forward position.
Spoelstra said Vincent has proved he can handle the role.
”You like to have things that you trust that you’ve seen and we’ve seen it,” Spoelstra said. ”Gabe has been able to plug in and stabilize and also give us some really good two-way basketball and we have full confidence that he’ll be able to fill in that gap and that position in a different way. He’s not going to be Kyle.”
Lowry, 36, is averaging 8.3 points and 5.3 assists. Vincent, in his third season, has averaged 7.3 points as one of the top-scoring reserves. He scored in double figures in 30 games this season, including six with at least 20.
”We’ve proven as a group that we can still be functional and effective even when different guys are out,” Spoelstra said.
Lowry’s status is not known for Game 5 in Miami on Tuesday night.
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