Kyle Lowry returns for Heat, Joel Embiid back for 76ers in Game 3 of E…

The Miami Heat again were whole Friday night, with the Philadelphia 76ers filling a glaring hole of their own.

Shortly after the Heat confirmed that point guard Kyle Lowry was obtainable after missing four games with a hamstring strain, center Joel Embiid returned to the mix for the 76ers, after missing the first two games of this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series with an orbital fracture and concussion.

That left both teams with fully obtainable rosters.

The Heat went into the game up 2-0 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.

In addition to Lowry returning to the mix after missing the final two games of the first round and then the first two games of this series, five other Heat players who, like Lowry, had been listed as questionable earlier in the day, also were obtainable. That had Gabe Vincent (knee), P.J. Tucker (calf), Caleb Martin (ankle), Tyler Herro (ankle) and Max Strus (hamstring) also in the mix for the game at Wells Fargo Center.

Lowry returned as a starter, flanked in the opening unit by Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tucker and Strus.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the return of Lowry additional needed nuance.

“Stylistically it will change things in the margins,” he said. “But clearly he’s a highly decorated, experienced, playoff-battle-tested guy. He’s the guy that all season long that we turned to get us organized, particularly in the moments of truth. You need as many guys that you can obtainable during the playoffs, that goes without saying.”

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said Lowry being back did not necessarily change his team’s approach.

“For them, it just adds another guy. But not much for us,” Rivers said. “I don’t think that changes the way we guard anyone any different. It just gives them a veteran All-Star.”

Earlier in the day, a major hurdle for Embiid was cleared, when he was cleared from NBA concussion protocols, a necessary step toward a return.

The concussion and orbital fracture occurred a week ago, in the road victory over the Toronto Raptors that progressive the 76ers to this series.

In addition to the blow he absorbed from Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, Embiid also consistent a ligament tear in his right thumb earlier in that series, forced since then to play in a splint. Surgery will be required in the offseason.

The 76ers initially listed Embiid on Friday morning as out for Friday’s game, already after the required NBA concussion protocols were satisfied, but then changed his position at midday to doubtful. He then took the court for warmups 45 minutes before the 7 p.m. tip.

Embiid had stood as the lone player on the 76ers’ Friday injury report.

Lowry had missed the past four games with the strain suffered in the Heat’s April 22 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the past round, with Vincent starting in his place.

Rivers said changing a player’s position so quickly presented its own challenges with Embiid.

“That makes it very difficult for them when they come back,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily average they’re going to play great. Or sometimes, they do. You just don’t know.”

The 76ers struggled in the middle in the absence of Embiid, opening the past two games of the series with veteran DeAndre Jordan at center and then cycling to foul-inclined neophyte Paul Reed.

“Listen, they’re doing their best,” Rivers said. “You can’t blame DJ. You can’t blame Paul. They’re doing their best. As a coach, that’s all you can ask from those guys. They are fighting their butts off, and that’s what you want. That’s what I would want if I was a fan.”

Amid all the uncertainty, Rivers said he was glad to have Embiid back in the discussion.

“Any plan where you can have Joel as part of the plan is a much better plan,” he said. “We don’t mind that.”

Rivers said there was no minutes restriction.

“There’s no cap. It’s all visual,” he said. “And we have people watching, too, who will come to me at halftime, and hopefully not during the first half, second, during the game. That’s happened to me before.”

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