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With Lowry injured, is it time to play Oladipo?

Lowry did not practice Saturday and walked with a limp.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Kyle Lowry could only watch from the bench with a hamstring injury as the Atlanta Hawks rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Miami Heat 111-110 Friday night and cut Miami’s series lead to 2-1. Lowry did not practice Saturday and walked with a limp, though he said he hasn’t ruled out playing in tomorrow’s Game 4.

Aside from Lowry’s injury, Gabe Vincent had a bad game Friday night. (And he played well in Game 2.) Vincent shot 0-for-5 from downtown in Game 3 and was a -15 in his 17 minutes. Erik Spoelstra benched him in crunch time, choosing to go without a traditional point guard.

If Lowry can’t play in Game 4, should Erik Spoelstra go to Victor Oladipo?

After Game 2, Spoelstra said that he anticipates needing Oladipo and Markieff Morris, the other veteran he moved out of the rotation late in the regular season.

You see how quickly things can change. All of a sudden Caleb played [in Game 2] and had significant, important minutes in that second half. I anticipate the same thing will happen for Vic and Markieff.”

First off, I expect Spoelstra to start Vincent if Lowry doesn’t play in Game 4. Vincent has filled in admirably for Lowry all season long, and one bad playoff game doesn’t erase all the trust he’s earned with Spoelstra.

In two late regular season games — an April 3 win at the Toronto Raptors and the April 10 season finale at the Orlando Magic — Oladipo proved that he’s still a quality NBA player. He could offer some firepower to compensate for Bam Adebayo’s sub-par offensive performances. Adebayo has only attempted 20 field goals and is averaging 9.3 points this series. And we know Oladipo can defend well.

But Spoelstra could opt to give those backup minutes to Caleb Martin, who played for just 50 seconds in Game 3 and didn’t play until garbage time in Game 1. Playing Martin would appear to be the “safer” option — Oladipo struggled finding where he fit in on a healthy Heat roster. In those two late regular-season games Oladipo thrived in, several Heat regulars were out.

And then again, if Lowry plays in Game 4, this conversation becomes moot.