The Miami Heat blew a 16-point lead in Game 3 of their first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, and lost 111-110 after Trae Young hit a game-winning floater in the closing seconds. Unfortunately for the Heat, their problems don’t end there.
Veteran point guard Kyle Lowry left the contest late in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. He was walking with a limp when leaving the arena, and told ESPN, “I’m pissed the f— off.” His status for Game 4 and beyond is in question, and the Heat will know more after he undergoes further evaluation and imaging.
Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
On Saturday, Lowry arrived to practice in sweats and still with a noticeable limp, per the Sun Sentinels‘ Ira Winderman, making a return Sunday seem highly unlikely. The Heat are listing Lowry as questionable for the game, and head coach Erik Spoelstra says the veteran guard will be evaluated all the way up prior to Game 4 tipoff.
Said Jimmy Butler: “I know we love that guy as our point guard. If he’s with us, yippee-ki-yay. If he’s not, somebody has got to step in and do his job. It’s very, very hard to do. But we got enough in that locker room to try to bring to the table what Kyle does. He’ll get his treatment and we’ll see where he’s at.”
The Heat were up 84-71 when Lowry left the game for good with 1:59 remaining in the third quarter. They were outscored 40-26 the rest of the way, as the Hawks clawed their way back into the series. Though Lowry finished with just six points, four rebounds and five assists, the Heat were plus-18 with him on the floor in the game thanks to his leadership, game management and defense.
According to Lowry, the injury occurred when he lost his sneaker guarding De’Andre Hunter, and was trying to check himself out of the game.
Lowry has always been about more than his numbers, and that was even more true than usual this season. His 13.4 points — the fewest he’s averaged in nearly a decade — and 7.5 assists per game were not special by any means, but the Heat were 41-22 with him in the lineup. He was the only major addition to the team during the offseason, and they improved their win total by 13 games and earned the No. 1 seed in the East. Now, through the first three playoff games they are plus-51 in his 89 minutes on the floor.
Simply put, the Heat need Lowry in order to be a real contender in the East. We saw what happened in the playoffs last season when they did not have him; it looked a lot like the fourth quarter on Friday night.