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Heat rule out Gabe Vincent with sprained ankle ahead of Game 5

The Celtics get a boost ahead of tipoff at TD Garden.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

After rolling his ankle in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Gabe Vincent has been ruled out of Game 5 for the Miami Heat against the Boston Celtics. Boston head into Thursday’s contest with their backs against the wall down 3-1 and one win away from elimination.

The news that Vincent will not be part of Miami’s rotation will likely be treated with cautious optimism among Celtics fans. Throughout the first four games, Vincent has been playing exceptional basketball, averaging 17.5 points while knocking down 50% of his perimeter shots on 5.5 attempts per game.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Three Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Without Vincent in the rotation, we’re likely to see Kyle Lowry step into the starting lineup, which should theoretically force Erik Spoelstra into some rotation decisions throughout the contest. Lowry, 37, has been an impactful member of Miami’s squad throughout this series, but it’s unclear how he will fair when facing Boston’s starting unit and assuming a larger role on both sides of the floor.

Vincent will join Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo on the Heat’s sidelines as Erik Spoelstra loses another primary ball-handler from his rotation. Boston would be wise not to get too confident heading into Game 5, though, as they’ve already dropped three games to a Heat team that continues to defy the odds.

Fortunately, the Celtics have a clean bill of health, with only Danilo Gallinari listed on their injury report, in what is another boost to the team’s chances of earning their second straight win. If Joe Mazzulla and his team wish to make NBA history, then they will need to win their next three games against the Heat, with two of them set to take place at the TD Garden.

However, Boston’s performances in front of their hometown crowd have been inconsistent throughout the postseason, with the team sitting around the .500 mark since the opening game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Still, with their season on the line and Jayson Tatum fast developing a reputation for stepping up during win-or-go-home situations, Celtics fans will likely feel confident about clawing another game back against a Miami team that currently lacks depth in their back court.

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