Tyler Herro laughed when asked about the exchange rate as he headed off to Mexico when it came to the value of his recent 3-pointers.
For the Miami Heat, they have been invaluable.
In following up his nine 3-pointers Wednesday night in the victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder with 10 more Thursday night against the Houston Rockets, Herro became only the third player in NBA history with nine or more in consecutive games.
The only others to have done it?
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry with five pairs of such performances and Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden with two. But Herro became the first to do it on consecutive nights.
Herro’s Thursday night performance tied the Heat franchise record for 3-pointers, shared by Brian Shaw, Mario Chalmers and Duncan Robinson.
“He just got in such a great rhythm,” coach Erik Spoelstra said, with the Heat next to face the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday in Mexico City, at the close of what they hope will be a 4-0 trip.
With Herro in attack mode playing in the absence of Jimmy Butler in Oklahoma City and then the absences Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry in Houston, it left opposing defenses with pick-your-poison choices, as he first matched his career regular-season high with 35 points against the Thunder and then eclipsed it with 41 against the Rockets.
While the Heat have been encouraging increased 3-point attempts across the roster, Spoelstra said the 3-point shots have been there for Herro against defenses seeking to stifle the penetration game.
“The last couple of games,” Spoelstra said, “that’s been, really, the scheme against him, and that’s been open. But, regardless, he’s too good of a shooter for us for him to not hunt out open threes of the catch. Now [Thursday], he had a few off the dribble, but [Wednesday] night, he had more off the catch. And I think when we’re fully healthy, he has to continue to be assertive in those opportunities.
“He’s just a brilliant shooter. He can do it off the dribble and off the catch. And that type of versatility is going to be important for us going forward, when we do get our full health back.”
Herro said he had not been aware of the franchise record for 3-pointers until he converted his nine on Wednesday.
“I didn’t know until [Wednesday] night,” he said. “They said I was one short. So I didn’t have any intention to tie the record, but I just tried to get threes up, shooting more threes.”
After the victory over the Thunder, Herro said he never thought he would have a night when he would attempt 17 3-pointers, closing 9 of 17 against the Thunder. Then in Houston he came close again, when he went 10 of 15 from beyond the arc.
“I think that’s part of how the defense has been playing me,” he said. “The last two teams really over-helped and we’d get in the paint, make sprays, and I was open on the arc.”
The hard way
Thursday was not exactly the cleanest of finishes for the Heat, but it was among the grittiest, winning despite going scoreless over the final five minutes.
“Our foundation and our bread and butter has to be on the defensive side of the floor, committing to all the tough things,” Spoelstra said. “I just like seeing it again, us putting our body in front of drives, trying to take hits and then the ball hitting the floor and us being the first to the floor a lot more often than we were the first few weeks of the season.”
A Haslem moment
With Adebayo and backup center Dewayne Dedmon out Thursday, it led to the first start for 42-year-old team captain Udonis Haslem since August 2020 in the Disney World quarantine bubble.
Haslem played 11:11 against the Rockets, after playing 24 previous minutes this season, going scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting, with two rebounds, three fouls and a technical foul.
“UD just gave us that tenacity and that toughness,” Spoelstra said. “Just from the very get-go, everybody understood how important this game was for us, and I think UD had a large part in that just with his intensity that was almost spilling over the edge.”
Haslem became the fourth-oldest player to start an NBA game, behind only Robert Parish, Dikembe Mutombo and Kevin Willis.