Miami Heat point guard Kyle Lowry will miss Game 5 of his team's first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks with the same hamstring injury that held him out of Game 4, the team announced Monday. It is unclear how long that hamstring injury will drag on into the rest of the playoffs at this stage, but Miami is still in good shape to at least make it out of the first round.
The Heat won Game 4 of their series against the Hawks decisively, 110-86, on Sunday night. Now, with a 3-1 series lead, they will have a chance to clinch the series at home in Game 5 on Tuesday. If they do, they should have a brief break before starting the second round against either the Toronto Raptors or Philadelphia 76ers.
Getting Lowry back will be essential for the Heat against either opponent and deeper into the playoffs if they hope to push for a championship. Lowry averaged just 13.4 points per game this season, his lowest mark since the 2012-13 campaign, but that undersells his impact on the Heat drastically.
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Lowry is a gifted playmaker and can defend players significantly bigger than he is due to his strength and low center of gravity. He is the consummate glue guy for a championship team, not quite good enough to lead one, but a critical part nonetheless.
However, hamstring injuries can be fickle. The Heat will have to balance getting Lowry back as quickly as possible with the danger that his injury could recur and knock him out for a longer period of time. Miami needs Lowry to compete for a championship, and how the Heat manage this injury will go a long way in determining just how far they can make it this postseason.